Sparks Flew As Ted Cruz And Beto O’Rourke Faced Off In Final Debate In San Antonio
O’Rourke was more aggressive than he appeared during their first debate, but likely didn’t sway any undecided Republican or Independent voters.
This was the second time O’Rourke and Cruz faced off. The debate in San Antonio focused on both domestic and foreign-policy issues that ranged from the judicial confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh and the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, to tariff increases and trade wars.
During the debate, both Cruz and O’Rourke were asked, in light of the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, should the country prepare for changes to abortion law?
Cruz said: “I believe every child is a gift from God. The question of what will happen at the Supreme Court on Roe vs. Wade, or anything else – we’ll have to see when cases are decided.”
O’Rourke said: “Senator Cruz has a very troubling record when it comes to judicial nominations and confirmations. He supported the nomination of a judge, Jeff Mateer, who described transgender children as part of Satan’s plan. He supported the nomination of a judge who never tried a case before.”
Mark Jones, who teaches political science at Rice University, says the candidates’ responses made it even clearer that the Cruz-O’Rourke race is a Republican- vs. Democratic-base election.
“With a vote for Cruz: the equivalent of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and people like them. And a vote for O’Rourke: a vote to not confirm those two justices and to confirm people with opposite ideological perspectives,” Jones says.
On the topic of health care, O’Rourke said that he would expand Medicaid in Texas, introduce Medicare as an option on the health exchange and introduce a plan to create universal health care. It’s a campaign promise that Cruz said would raise the national debt by over $32 trillion.
“Congressman O’Rourke’s plan would require tripling your taxes. He said you could do it with five points on the corporate rate – that doesn’t even pass elementary-school math,” Cruz said.
O’Rourke fired back at Cruz when both were asked if the Trump administration’s tariffs threaten the growth of the Texas economy.
Cruz said that he actually agreed with O’Rourke’s stance against raising tariffs and creating a trade war, but then said the difference was that he was able to work with the president and influence his decision-making rather than fighting against the administration to create a partisan “circus.”
O’Rourke responded: “Really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the U.S. Senate. Listen, if you have this special relationship with President Trump, then where are the results of that. The tariffs that the president has levied, the trade wars that he has entered this country into is hurting no state more than it is hurting Texas.”
In terms of their overall debate performance, Jones says O’Rourke was not able to convince voters who typically vote Republican to vote for him this November.
“I don’t think he did anything to undermine Cruz’s support among Republicans and Independents who are already planning to vote for him,” Jones says.
Votes Jones says O’Rourke will need if he’s to win. The latest funding totals shows O’Rourke raised three times the amount of his Republican opponent – money Jones says O’Rourke will need to spend wisely to increase his support between now and the start of early voting on Monday. That’s the same day President Trump travels to Texas to rally for Cruz in Houston.