Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

May 7, 2019

Anti LGBT Bills Considered at Texas House Will Be Reviewed By Legislators Looking To Sanction Anti Gay Behavior



In Austin, Texas, a new raft of anti-LGBT legislation is working its way through the state legislature. One of the bills would allow state-licensed professionals of all stripes — from doctors and pharmacists to plumbers and electricians — to deny services on religious grounds. Supporters say the legislation is needed to protect religious freedoms. But opponents call them "religious refusal bills" or "bigot bills."
Last week, on the steps of the capital in Austin, business leaders gathered to announce their opposition to the series of bills which they say would sanction discrimination against their LGBT employees.
Mike Hollinger, an executive at IBM, tried to warn the legislature against the legislative efforts. "I'm proud to speak on behalf of IBM, a company with an 80-plus year legacy in Texas and a workforce of around 10,000 here in the Lone Star State. This license to discriminate will damage the state's reputation and prevent people, including IBMers from wanting to live and work here." LAW 
A coalition of more than 1,000 Texas and national businesses called Texas Competes are also lobbying against the bills. It includes many of the nation's biggest tech companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon.
One of the bills, Senate Bill 17, specifically allows licensed professionals to discriminate based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Dale Carpenter, a constitutional law professor at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, says the bill would allow licensed service providers to discriminate without worrying that their state occupational license might be threatened by their actions.
Carpenter says the list of professionals included is prodigious: "There are literally hundreds of them in Texas ... They include athletic trainers, doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, orthodontists, physical therapists, counselors of all kinds, accountants, engineers, landscape architects, real estate agents, tax consultants, air conditioning repair personnel, electricians, on and on and on it goes."
While the legislation might be designed mainly for Texas Christians to withhold their services from LGBT people, Carpenter says it would allow discrimination against anyone as long as the motive is a sincerely held religious belief.
One person's discrimination...
The word "discrimination" gets used by both sides of this political fight.
Supporters of the legislation say this is about safeguarding religious freedoms and ensuring that those who wish to exercise these freedoms aren't discriminated against as a consequence. Jonathan Saenz is the president of Texas Values, a religious liberty organization which is lobbying in favor of passage. He says the legislation has broad support.
"Texans are very concerned about the attacks on religious freedom and people of faith, particularly people that believe in marriage and sexuality as it's defined in the bible," Saenz says. "Senate Bill 17 just makes it clear that you can't force someone to choose between their work and their faith. You can't use the government to punish people that have to get a certain license or authorization just because of some of the personal religious beliefs that they have."
Tough for business
For Republican legislators, this type of legislation puts them in a tough spot. Two years ago a bathroom bill, which singled out transgender public school students and other transgender Texans, tore the Texas GOP in two.
The business community and chambers of commerce hated it. San Antonio was about to host the NCAA Men's Final Four Basketball Tournament and the city was terrified the NCAA would pull out if the bathroom bill became law. It passed the Senate but then Speaker of the House, San Antonio Republican Joe Straus, killed it.
A hero to business but loathed by his party's powerful evangelical wing, Straus retired from politics not long after.
The tourist industry and rural residents
The convention and travel industries, in particular, tend to be the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to these types of bills. Phillip Jones, president and CEO of VisitDallas, says they'd be the first to keel over if the controversial 'religious refusal' legislation passes.
"One in ten trade shows held in America are held in Texas. I've got a hundred million dollar's worth of business that's currently at risk, if this legislation were to pass," says Jones. "Based on our experience with the bathroom bill they have a provision in their contracts that spells out that, should Texas pass any form of discriminatory legislation, then they can cancel their meeting in Texas or in Dallas without any penalties."
Rural communities are most vulnerable if doctors or pharmacists refuse service because alternatives are usually scarce or non-existent. Moreover, opponents of the legislation worry that municipal non-discrimination ordinances in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, El Paso, Billsand San Antonio could be rendered unenforceable if the bill were to pass.
SMU's Carpenter says that other than the city ordinances, state law provides no safeguards. "It is already perfectly legal to decline service and to do so on a discriminatory basis in the state of Texas," he says. "In fact, the law in the state of Texas is that rights of conscience are already protected against state regulation for private citizens and professionals and businesses."
Carpenter says that federal civil rights laws passed in the 1960s provide less protection from discrimination than many might imagine. Race, religion and national origin are protected from discrimination in public accommodations only, such as restaurants, hotels and theaters.
Carpenter believes that, given the already generous legal right to discriminate in Texas, the latest round of bills are merely a way for the Republican-dominated legislature to demonstrate to its evangelical base that they're on the ball.

May 6, 2019

Some Hating Texans Come After Peter Buttigieg For Being Gay








Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke came to the defense of fellow 2020 rival Pete Buttigieg after anti-gay protesters heckled Buttigieg at an event in Texas on Friday.

"Texans don't stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon," O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman, wrote on Twitter.

Beto O'Rourke
@BetoORourke
 Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon.
DJ Judd
@DJJudd
Replying to @DJJudd
Pete Buttigieg has been interrupted four times here in Dallas by protesters. One yelled “Marriage is between a man and a woman!” Another yelled “Repent!” After the 4th, Buttigieg continued, “The moment I packed my bags for Afghanistan, to defend that man’s freedom of speech...”
  
O'Rourke elaborated on his decision to come to Buttigieg's defense while campaigning Saturday in Iowa.
"I'm a proud American, I'm a proud Texan, and the hatred directed towards Pete Buttigieg last night was not reflective or representative of my state or of this country, so I wanted to call it out immediately, first and foremost," he told reporters.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was addressing the Dallas County Democratic Dinner on Friday when his speech was interrupted at least four times by a group of protesters.
One yelled, "Marriage is between a man and a woman." Another yelled, "Repent."

The audience applauded over the protests and chanted "Pete" to drown out the protesters, who were eventually escorted from the room by security.

"I'm just thinking of that scripture that says bless and do not curse," Buttigieg, who has been open about his Episcopalian faith, said after one of the interruptions.

He also said his service in Afghanistan was "for the purpose of defending that gentleman's freedom of speech," referring to one of the protesters who interrupted him.

This is not the first time Buttigieg has come up against anti-gay protesters -- he was also heckled by anti-gay chants during two campaign events in Iowa last month.

What America can learn from Pete Buttigieg's coming out experience

Buttigieg came out in 2015, months before he was re-elected as South Bend's mayor. If elected, he would be the first married gay US president.

"We are so lucky to have somebody like Mayor Pete running for president right now," O'Rourke said campaigning in Iowa Saturday. "I think we have to set the example. We can't just call out intolerance and hatred, we have to show that we don't just tolerate one another, we embrace one another."

CNN's Christian Sierra, Annie Grayer and Aishvarya Kavi contributed to this report.


February 12, 2019

11 Yr Old Sixth Grader Savannah Tirre, Targeted and Assaulted Left With Scary Anti Gay Threats



Algernon D'Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - Social media threats targeting a sixth-grader at Zia Middle School over the weekend led to a brief "shelter in place" order at the school Monday morning.
Despite the threats, and a violent encounter on school grounds Friday, 11-year-old Savannah Tirre returned to school Monday, arriving with a group of friends and family members. 
The student's mother, Chelsea Tirre, told the Sun-news her daughter was being escorted between classes Monday by the school resource officer, a Mesilla town marshal regularly assigned to the school.  
Tirre said her daughter has been the target of bullying since October, when her daughter came out as gay. She said the bullying began "right off the bat" when Savannah started attending Picacho Middle School, ultimately moving the family to transfer her to Zia where the bullying continued.  
On Friday, Savannah was involved in a fight with an unidentified student at school. A mobile phone video published on Facebook shows Tirre on the ground being punched at least six times by a student standing over her before Tirre attempts to push her off with her foot, as recess monitors are heard blowing whistles.
Tirre said her daughter reported the other student punched her from behind. When she saw the video of the encounter later, Tirre said, "My heart just dropped," and she filed a police report.
The video does not show how the encounter began or whether it was instigated over the student's sexual orientation. However, social media comments included threats of further violence toward the student and referred to her being gay.
One example, shared as a screenshot on Facebook by the student's aunt, included a threat with the poster's name obscured that stated, "This little girl is about to get jumped Monday again so get your phones out," describing Tirre as "a little lesbian."
An additional social media threat by an unnamed male, currently under investigation by police, led to security measures Monday which the Las Cruces Public Schools said it took "out of an abundance of caution."
The shelter-in-place order was lifted sometime before 9 a.m., according to the district.
"Savannah is doing surprisingly well," Tirre said of her daughter Monday morning. "She's had a lot of people reach out to her, lots of support. Her adrenaline is still going really strong so it really hasn't hit yet ... Savannah has gone through a lot." 
Mom says attack was preventable
Tirre said that her daughter came out to her as gay the summer after graduating from fifth grade at Mesilla Elementary School.
Tirre recalled hugging her daughter, who was in tears. "We said, 'We don't care, we just want you happy.' It's never been an issue in this family."
Soon after enrolling at Picacho Middle School, however, Tirre said intense bullying began, and she ultimately decided to move Savannah and her brother to Zia because she was not satisfied with the school administration's response. 
Picacho Middle School Principal Fred Montalvo referred the Sun-News to the school district's central office.
LCPS spokesman Damien Willis responded, "While we are unable to comment on matters pertaining to specific students, we take all reports of bullying very seriously and address them in accordance with the district’s policies and regulations. The safety and well-being of all students is our top concern.”
The bullying was so intense, Tirre said, that in October Savannah began experiencing seizures that required treatment in the pediatric intensive care unit at Memorial Medical Center. 
"The bullying has never stopped, although she has more friends at Zia who have protected her from this sort of thing," Tirre said. "It's one group of girls that's doing this, along with two boys." 
Tirre praised Zia Middle School Principal Joel Aguilar for being responsive to the bullying and for his communication with Savannah's family. She said that following Savannah's hospital stay, all of her teachers participated in an action plan to monitor the bullying as well Savannah's physical and emotional health.
"She went to a dark place," Tirre said, "and has worked really, really hard to love herself, respect herself, and reach out to me when she needs me." Savannah has also restricted her time with certain peers along with mobile phone use, "so she could let herself be 11 and not grow up so quickly."
While expressing confidence in Zia's staff, Tirre believes Friday's attack could have been prevented.
"Savannah found out she would be jumped (Friday) morning," Tirre said. "I'm very disappointed the (recess) monitors were not informed of this situation." 
She said meetings were scheduled later Monday to decide the next steps for Savannah, but that she had been told her daughter will not face suspension for the fight, the school having told her "she did not try to do anything but cover herself and defend herself." 
Disciplinary measures for the other student had not been determined, but Tirre said she hoped for a constructive intervention. 
"Middle school, for girls, is tough, I get that, but I think this little girl needs to be set on the right path," Tirre said. "I think she needs to be in some sort of program that can help redirect her. I don't think she should be locked and put away. I hope her parents guide her in the right direction." 
Otherwise, Tirre said, "My focus is on my daughter only ... My daughter is being threatened for her life because she's gay." 
Algernon D'Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, adammassa@lcsun-news.com or @AlgernonActor on Twitter.

January 22, 2019

Couple Attacked and Targeted as Gay in Austin






A photo of Tristan Perry in the hospital after he says he and his boyfriend were attacked along Red River Street for holding hands. (Photo Courtesy Spencer Deehring).  
Video

By:  

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AUSTIN (KXAN) —  A gay couple in Austin say they were the target of a homophobic slur, then attacked in downtown Austin in the early hours of Saturday morning. Both were hospitalized for their injuries.

Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry say they love holding hands with each other and being affectionate. A friend had a birthday party Friday night, so the couple and their friends went to several bars downtown to celebrate. The two say they only had two drinks early on in the night and drove downtown so they wanted to make sure they were sober by the time the night was over.

The two were walking out from Rain nightclub on 4th Street at around 2:45 a.m.

Because of the head trauma he sustained, Perry doesn't remember any of what happened next.

Deehring believes that they were walking near 7th Street and Red River Street (though he says it's possible they could have been a block or two away from that point) when a man walked past them and said a homophobic slur to them.

"I hate that word," Perry interjected. "I'm not going to have someone walk all over me, but that also doesn't warrant getting punched in the face or having a broken nose."

Deehring recalls making a retort back to the man, saying something like "I'm sorry I couldn't hear you."

Then he said that man called over to his group of friends who were out of sight, motioned for them to come over, and within a few seconds, the group was following Deehring and Perry as they walked to their car.

"They started following behind us pretty closely yelling every expletive you can think of," Deehring said. "The last thing I said to one of the guys before they attacked both of us was like, 'I don't have anything more to say to you guys, we're just going home, leave us alone.'"

That's when Deehring said one of the men punched Perry in the face, breaking his nose and causing him to fall to his knees. Next, he recalls two other men stepped in and hit Perry again until he was laying on the ground. Then, Deehring said another man kicked Perry in the back of the head.

Deehring said he immediately tried to tackle the men who were attacking his boyfriend.

"That was my first reaction, was to stop them from kicking him because he couldn't receive one more blow to the head or he may well have been dead," he said.

But Deehring said he was knocked unconscious by the men punching him.

A bystander called 911 and waited there until police and EMS arrived, which Deehring estimates took more than 20 minutes. Both Deehring and Perry were hospitalized.

"If the bystander had not been there [the attackers] may have continued, it may have been much worse," Deehring said.

The couple believes that their attackers were set off by seeing them holding hands.


Perry has a laceration on the back of his head, his nose is broken,  he has swelling in his face up to his cheekbones, his lip is busted, his teeth are chipped, he has neck and upper back pain and his memory has some lapses.

Perry was planning to take the state board exam for his cosmetology license this week, now he fears he will have to delay it. He was rehospitalized Sunday morning after his bleeding continued and symptoms persisted but he has since been discharged.

Deehring has swelling to his mouth and jaw as well as lacerations on his forehead that required skin glue. He also thinks he has bruising from blows to the back of his head and neck.

Both Perry and Deehring have difficulty chewing and are experiencing pain.

"It shouldn't happen to anyone else, and it breaks my heart that it's probably going to [keep happening] until these guys are caught," Perry said.


"Living in Corpus Christi and moving to Austin,  I thought, 'Oh everyone is going to be so open-minded,'" Perry said. "I think that a lot of people think that and it's overlooked that this could happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime."

             




A photo of Tristan Perry in the hospital, he says he and his boyfriend were attacked while holding hands in downtown Austin. Photo Courtesy Spencer Deehring. 
Anna Nguyen, the president of the Austin chapter of PFLAG, told KXAN Sunday she sees this attack as "alarming."

In her 26 years living in Austin, she recalls many attacks on LGBTQIA individuals.

"But it feels as if lately the frequency has ratcheted up quite a bit," she said.

"I think Austin as a community needs to step up its game and prove its one of the most LGBTQIA friendly cities in the country by deeds and not just by words," she said.

She hopes that APD can quickly make headway on finding the person who attacked Perry and Deehring. Nguyen added that in the meantime there are many LGBTQIA groups in Austin that victims of attacks can turn to for support. The couple says they have filed a police report and KXAN is waiting to hear back from Austin police and Austin-Travis County EMS for their records on the case.

In the last few months KXAN has spoken with Austin Police several times about the crimes they see downtown, Assistant Chief Justin Newsom told KXAN that the most common type of calls APD officers responds to downtown are "disturbances" or fights. He estimates around one happens every day and that these calls often involve people who are intoxicated. Newsom told KXAN in December and Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday reiterated in January that they feel more officers are needed to meet the growing number of demands downtown.

While Perry and Deehring wait to hear from an APD detective, they are trying to encourage others to be cautious when out at night and not to travel alone.

"If he wasn't there I don't know that I would still be here today," Perry said looking at Deehring.

They decided to share what happened to them over Facebook for the benefit of others who may have gone through something similar but might not feel comfortable talking about it.

"We want people to understand that it is possible for this to happen, it's not something where you could say its 2019, this doesn't happen anymore, we are living proof of it," Deehring said.

Deehring explained that in sharing about this attack, he also came out to his loved ones about his sexuality. Both he and his boyfriend said they were grateful for the outpouring of support they've received since.

They have a message they want to share:

"Spread love, end all this hatred, end all this closed-mindedness always watch your surroundings, always be aware of your surroundings, don't walk alone," Perry said.

"Be aware of your surroundings, but don't change who you are as a person, don't ever change who you are as a person and don't be afraid to go out there and explore the world, just as you are," Deehring said. "We're gonna do that too."

The couple explained that while this attack has rocked them, they plan to continue going out in public and being affectionate in public.

They have created a GoFundMe page for their medical expenses, which you can find here.

photo
A photo of Tristan Perry and Spencer Deehring. Photo Courtesy Spencer Deehring.
Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

October 4, 2018

Beto O'Rourke is Dazzling The Democrats



 Beto is taken for his own what was considered a secured seat for GOP Texas but it really wasn't. All it needed was the right candidate. Take a look at this Cuban-something. I'm not even sure because for a while he tried to pass as totally Anglican even change his name. Ted Cruz, it's even just a big balloon of hot air and it's been one since he came to Congress with the Tea Baggers. Besides preaching for immigration what else has he done? He barely got his snake boots wet during the stormwater floods. The only place you find him is when there is something national that he can talk about because that is something he does well, talk. But he preached Texas and Texas needed both Senators to be if only verbally to be working for the state. Afraid to lose a seat in the Senate the RNC always came thru with help and money. But Having someone with ideas not just talk, someone real not just someone made up to look like a good worker for the people, that is all Texas needed and it seems is getting it.



A rising star in the Democratic Party could pull off an unlikely victory in the upcoming US mid-term elections by unseating a big-name Republican in the traditionally conservative state of Texas.
O'Rourke supporters
Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke is bouncing on a small stage in Edinburg, waving his arms wildly, all 6ft 4ins (193cm) of his gangly frame crackling with energy.
His toes are well over the edge of the boards and his suede shoes are soaking up dark splashes of sweat from his brow.
Mr. O'Rourke, who has represented El Paso and its surrounds in the US House of Representatives since 2013, is running for the Senate - and you can't fault him for effort.
"Everyone is welcome," he smiles to the packed audience, insisting that the invitation even extends to "the dude in the Make America Great Again cap".
For today at least, the offer is rhetorical. 
There are no red-and-white Donald Trump hats in sight and, one suspects, precious few anywhere in Hidalgo County, where Edinburg bakes in the Rio Grande Valley, just north of the Mexican border. 
This is deeply Hispanic, deeply Democratic territory. You can spend a long time here before you hear a word of English.
While Texas voted for Mr Trump as president in 2016 by 52% to Hillary Clinton's 43%, Hidalgo County went for the Democrat by 68% to 28%.
Mr O'Rourke may not have Latin roots but he is fluent in Spanish and he leans heavily on his "Beto" nickname - a common contraction of Roberto - which he picked up as a child in El Paso.
But the congressman is not only campaigning on favorable ground. He has spent much of the past year crisscrossing Texas, boasting that he has visited all 254 of its counties. It appears that he is following a twin-track strategy, enthusing his left-wing base by calling for reform of criminal justice and immigration laws while also trying to attract disillusioned Trump supporters by promising improved education and universal healthcare - and appealing to both groups by accusing the White House of lavishing a giant tax cut on millionaires at the expense of ordinary Americans.
The biggest cheers come when he vows to end the nexus between politics and big business, to drain the swamp if you will.
He is almost drowned out as he looks out at the audience and declares "I see people instead of corporations! I see people instead of special interests!"
Mr. O'Rourke's passionate delivery along with his good looks and background as a skateboarder and a punk rocker has endeared him to liberals across the country, earning flattering comparisons with another Irish-American, that hero of modern American liberalism Bobby Kennedy.

Mr O'Rourke held a campaign concert with famed country musician Willie NelsonImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionA huge crowd topping 50,000 greeted him and Willie Nelson

Mr O'Rourke has said he is "open to" replacing the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), he favours tightening restrictions on guns and has said he would vote to impeach President Trump.
On Saturday, he took to the stage in the left-leaning state capital Austin with the country music legend Willie Nelson, briefly joining in on the chorus of On the Road Again. Tens of thousands of Texans flocked to watch.
Mr O'Rourke's speech was described by the Dallas Morning News as "impassioned" and "brimming with his trademark optimism." 
"We will be defined not by our fears - when we allow that to happen we build walls, we ban people based on their religion, we describe the press as the enemy of the people," he said, rebuking President Trump.
"We should be defined by our ambitions, our aspirations."
Mr O'Rourke has benefited from a flurry of small donations from all over the United States, raising millions of dollars more than his rival in a race which may help determine who controls Congress for the next two years of the Trump presidency.
The Democrats are favored to win control of the House of Representatives but are in a much tougher battle for the Senate, where they need a net gain of two seats but are defending 10 seats in states which Mr. Trump won in 2016.
The man trying to fight off this challenge is Ted Cruz, a former (and perhaps future) presidential candidate who ran Mr. Trump close for the Republican nomination in 2016. 
Mr Cruz is in many ways the opposite of his rival, an astute lawyer with a studied, precise delivery and a bête noir of the left who is also infamous for attracting the enmity of some Republican colleagues in Washington.
Yet with his campaign slogan "Tough as Texas", he epitomizes the strong streak of conservative self-reliance which runs through the heart of this vast rural state, as much a part of its identity as cowboy boots and barbecue sauce. 
He should be strolling towards re-election.

Cruz and O'Rourke debateImage copyrightPOOL
Image captionCruz is a darling of the evangelical wing of the Republican Party

Either way, in Buddy Holly's hometown of Lubbock, in the north-west of the state, Mr Cruz isn't taking any chances.
He spends most of his stump speech lambasting Mr O'Rourke whom he accuses of taking "radical" positions on drugs, policing, immigration and the right to bear arms.
Mr Cruz punctuates his criticism with the crowd-pleasing phrase "and that ain't Texas!"
"This is a debate between two approaches," he tells his overwhelmingly white audience, "between socialism and the American free enterprise system. Between tyranny and liberty... between the crazy left wing and the great people of the state of Texas."
That draws a big cheer. Here they love the style of the man in the ostrich skin boots.

Mr Cruz's ostrich skin boots were regularly seen during stump speeches during his 2016 presidential campaignImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

When asked what he likes about the senator, one member of the crowd, Monti Bandiber replies with just three words - "his conservative values".
"I just really like his morals," says another supporter, Lyn Vandiver. "I think he's a very Christian man. And that's the most important thing to me."
By contrast, she regards Mr O'Rourke as "a liar" both for his account of the events around a youthful conviction for drink driving and in the way he has spoken about his support for black athletes who kneel at sporting events during the national anthem to protest against police violence and racial inequality.
This stress on morality is interesting given the identity of the current president, a man who was heard bragging that he can force himself on women because of his fame.
Ms Vandiver is not fond of Mr Trump personally, well aware that Mr Cruz exchanged insults with the New York property tycoon during the presidential campaign, calling him a "pathological liar," "utterly amoral," and "a serial philanderer" among other things.
Now the Texan senator is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Mr Trump's dominance of his party is such that a Republican candidate cannot be rude about him and expect grassroots support.
And so Mr Cruz finds himself praising the president and his policies, swallowing a dollop of hypocrisy mixed with a measure of humiliation.
It is another reason why he is spending as much time as possible attacking Mr O'Rourke as "a socialist", a dirty word in much of the US and particularly in Texas, which prides itself on a disdain for government.
When I point out to Mr Cruz that his opponent hasn't actually advocated state ownership of the means of production - a widely accepted definition of socialism - the senator shoots back "he supports socialized medicine".
The senator adds that "as Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money".
Intriguingly when I ask Mr O'Rourke the same question - do you support common ownership of the means of production, he is coy. 
It is hard to think of another mainstream US politician who would answer with anything other than the word "no". But even given several chances, Mr O'Rourke does not disavow socialism as a creed, instead insisting "the party labels just do not matter anymore. I'm convinced of it. It's not Republican or Democrat. It's Texan and American and that's what we're standing for in this campaign".
"Investing in the ability for everyone to be well enough to live to their full potential," does not need a label, he says, adding "it's also the most fiscally conservative thing possible".
Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, says Mr. O'Rourke is "well to the left" of other Texan Democrats and yet is managing to sound more moderate.
Prof Wilson says it will be interesting to see whether voters are "more interested in someone who has a conciliatory style" or "in evaluating the ideological substance of the positions".

A trucks sponsored by a pro-Democrat group features a Trump tweet critical of Mr CruzImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionA trucks sponsored by a pro-Democrat group features a Trump tweet critical of Mr Cruz

In the Dallas suburb of Deep Ellum, there are plenty of young people who are interested in both.
In The Three Links, which offers drinkers the chance to try their hand at punk karaoke (we are treated to a decent rendition of Kids in America), supporters of Beto O'Rourke gathered to watch the two candidates go head to head in a televised debate.
"You can't go a mile in Dallas without seeing Beto signs," said Chris Cude, 29, a lawyer. "They're attracting people who want to be a part of it. He associates with a younger, more adaptable, accepting, millennial crowd."
Sunny Gruber, 30, a technology worker said she too had noticed a profusion of black and white Beto signs in the city and "a lot of folks campaigning for Beto" whose campaign she describes as "really invigorating and exciting for America".

Cruz supporters snap a selfie ahead of the September debateImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionCruz supporters snap a selfie ahead of the September debate

Success in the big cities of Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio is one thing but Mr O'Rourke faces a formidable challenge if he wants to win over rural voters too.
Whereas Ted Cruz plays on fears about the impact of a Democratic Senate victory in Texas, comparing his challenger unfavorably to the democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke is projecting a message of hope, trying to tap into the same disenchantment which propelled Mr. Trump into the White House.
Mr. O'Rourke's task remains very tough. 
For years, Democrats have been waking up disappointed from dreams of victory in Texas, where they haven't won a US Senate seat in 30 years.
Still, Texas is changing, becoming more urban and less white, and assuming Mr. O'Rourke can generate a high turnout among his base, a liberal victory in the Lone Star State no longer looks impossible, which in itself is pretty remarkable. 


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