Approximately 55,000 people turned out in Austin to support Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, reports ABC News.
O’Rourke got the crowd excited with a speech about his policies, looking for progressive reform listing off issues such as climate change, LGBTQ issues, and marijuana legalization. The last issue would have pleased his headlining guest, Willie Nelson, whom he joined on stage to close the event, playing guitar on “On the Road Again” with Nelson and his band made up of his family members.
Nelson gained plenty of attention when he initially accepted the invitation to perform at the rally, getting criticism from his fans who support the Republican Party, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. He would have displeased that section of his fans even further with his performance of a new song titled “Vote ’em Out,” which called for action from singers.
“If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out. That’s what Election Day is all about. And the biggest gun we got, is called the ballot box, if you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out.”
While Nelson didn’t specifically mention Beto or any Democratic candidate in the lyrics to the song which was rather a general call for civic involvement, singing such a song at a rally for a Democratic candidate will rile up those same people again.
O’Rourke’s progressive message has been ringing true in Texas, a state that has not given a statewide office to a Democrat since 1994. In the intervening 24 years, Texas has become far younger and diverse, which could be good news for Democrats.
Rather than playing a more moderate line, O’Rourke has been espousing views posited by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. That has seemed to appeal to those younger voters, who could decide the election if O’Rourke can motivate turnout successfully.
With just over a month until the election, being in Travis County, a county that is solidly blue, may not be the right place for O’Rourke to be spending his time, but the aspiring senator has been all over the state, and this was his stop in Travis County. O’Rourke has been famous for his work on the campaign trail, having visited all 254 counties in the state.
Since the turn of the century, a Democratic candidate for Senate has not managed more than a 43 percent vote share. Cruz may have the edge on the average polls but more recent polls are showing increasingly tight margins, which is giving O’Rourke, and Democrats, hope.