The junior Senator from Texas knows how to frame a topic, debate a topic and win elections.
His campaign routinely and successfully portrayed Beto O’Rourke as out of synch in two-steppin’ Texas. The following ads were all over the airwaves in the weeks and months running up to Tuesday.
I believe these ads worked wonders for the least likable of Senators. In return, Beto refused to go negative, and I believe this was a missed opportunity. He had plenty of money to help Texas voters see the real Cruz, but he didn’t feel the need to go there. When he did call him “lyin’ Ted” during a debate, he later said that he regretted it.
Imagine how badly Cruz could have been hurt by months of negative portrayals airing in prime time. He’s certainly an easy target for attacks on his record and his character.
I do understand that going negative is not Beto’s way, and I respect that he ran his race his way. Now that it’s over, I’d simply like to reckon with what it takes to win (no matter what side you’re on).
I wish attack ads didn’t exist, but they do exist. Beto, like so many people today, badly wants to rewrite the rules. In my opinion, the best way to do that is to play by them first. Generally speaking, you have to get on the field of play before you change the game.
What do you think? Would Beto have won had he attacked Ted Cruz (with fact-based criticisms), or would those factual but negative ads have made Beto as unlikeable as every other politician?