This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.
AUSTIN – It’s official, the 2018 Texas Senate race is off and running. Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke has thrown his hat in the ring seeking not just to displace Senator Ted Cruz but to be the first Democrat elected to statewide office since 1994.
Texas is a red state through and through. The chances for O’Rourke, a third term congressman from El Paso and former punk rock musician, are not great. But it is certainly not a “suicide mission,” as Texas Senator Jon Cornyn described O’Rourke’s run.
There is a slim path to victory for O’Rourke. But here’s the thing, it does not rest on the traditional “demography is destiny” argument that claims the growing Latino population will carry a Democrat in Texas over the finish line.
The way Beto beats Ted is a piecemeal approach—shoring up Ted Cruz’s negatives, not touching the identity politics playbook, and going full throttle grass roots as Sanders did in 2016 and Ted Cruz did six years earlier. (more…)