The U.S. Senate is the most important legislative body in the world. The “upper chamber” confirms judges and major presidential appointments, ratifies treaties, adjudicates impeachment and can kill any bill that it doesn’t want the president to sign. Republicans control the current Senate by one vote. If they suffer a net loss of two seats, then Chuck Schumer of New York will control the agenda of the Senate at least until 2020. On November 6 Texans will choose between two candidates who are very close in age (46 and 47 years old) but couldn’t be more different in policy. If re-elected, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) will vote for Mitch McConnell (R–KY) to continue as the Republican Leader when the 116th Congress convenes on January 3, 2019. If elected, Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s first official act as a senator will be to vote for Chuck Schumer (D–NY) to lead the Democratic Party. Everything else we think we know about Robert “Beto” O’Rourke is less important than his choice of Senator Schumer to be the leader of his party and possibly of the entire Senate of the United States.

If control of the Senate shifts to Beto and the Democrats, here are some of the results they have promised. All confirmations of cabinet members, federal judgeships (150 are pending) and Supreme Court justices will cease. If the Democrats also gain a majority in the House, then President Trump will be impeached. Justice Kavanaugh will be impeached. Justice Thomas may be impeached. The Republican tax cuts will be repealed. A carbon tax on oil and gas will be passed. Restrictions on fracking will be enacted. Abortion rights will be expanded. ICE will be abolished.

When Representative O’Rourke speaks in public, he intones wonderful themes of being a unifier, finding the middle ground, and reminding us that we are all Americans. However, when he goes off script, he is prone to unrealistic proposals and startling claims that do not comport with the “unifier” image he has so carefully choreographed. So which Robert Francis O’Rourke are we to believe? How do we know which candidate is the genuine “Beto”? Since Mr. O’Rourke is a three-term congressman, let’s review his voting record and public statements. Is he truly one who looks for the middle ground and brings opposing factions together?

What about abortion? While in Congress, Representative O’Rourke has, in fact, voted to remove restrictions on late-term abortions (HR 36) and actually co-sponsored legislation (HR 3471) which sought to prohibit the individual states from enacting any pro-life legislation whatsoever. Boasting a 100% NARAL and Planned Parenthood rating, O’Rourke is a zealot when it comes to promoting the legal right to end the life of an unborn child. How will pro-life voters find common ground with Beto’s extreme positions?

What about energy? O’Rourke’s website informs that “Beto knows that climate change is the defining existential threat of our time.” To Beto, catastrophic climate change is an undeniable truth not open to differing opinions. So it is no surprise that Representative O’Rourke is also in favor of rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and reinstating President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. These are draconian measures that would hobble our nation’s energy industry, destroy jobs, and impose crushing fuel and utility costs upon Texans. It also explains why Beto has voted against approval of the Keystone Pipeline. Congressman O’Rourke also voted in favor of a bill that would have imposed a $10/barrel tax on crude oil and recently defended his vote in a televised debate with Senator Cruz. Do these positions sound like “middle ground” to you? Will the leading energy-producing state in the nation be “unified” if represented by a senator who has a record of working to restrict, handicap, and penalize our most important industry?

What about impeachment? The Democratic Party has made a promise to their voters that, if they win control the House of Representatives, articles of impeachment will be delivered to the Senate. Rep. O’Rourke told The Dallas Morning News on October 9th that if presented with the opportunity, he will vote for the impeachment of President Trump. The Democrats have also announced plans to impeach Justice Kavanaugh and are considering impeaching Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas is the most conservative jurist on the Supreme Court who was confirmed 28 years ago and happens to be African-American. Is this the new unifying tone that Beto envisions for Washington?

What about healthcare? Congressman O’Rourke is an enthusiastic advocate of Obamacare and supports an expansion of government health insurance. He has proposed a universal single-payer system very similar to the plan laid out by Bernie Sanders, the only member of Congress who self-identifies as a socialist. The left-of-center Urban Institute has scored O’Rourke’s plan as costing $32 trillion over the first 10 years and $2.5 trillion in year one. When the moderator of the October 16th debate asked how his plan would be funded, Beto responded with the familiar Democrat cure-all of “raising taxes upon the rich and corporations.” Senator Cruz pointed out that if the IRS taxed the income of every American earning $1 million and above at a rate of 100 percent, this would only be sufficient to fund Beto’s plan for five months. O’Rourke then accused Cruz of engaging in the politics of fear. No, Cruz was engaging in the politics of arithmetic. The problem with socialist policies is that there is simply not enough money in the world to pay for them. How do you find middle ground with a politician who rejects basic math and refuses to learn from the painful lessons of Obamacare?

What about immigration? The United States is home to approximately 50 million immigrants comprising 15 percent of the nation’s population. Foreign-born residents in the USA have increased by 500 percent since 1970. Clearly, the U.S. is an inviting and accommodating destination to peoples from across the globe. But since the 1980s, border states, in particular, have struggled with illegal immigration as well as massive chain migration that has overwhelmed our social services, hospitals, law enforcement, and public schools. More recently, we have dealt with a crime wave committed by MS-13, drug cartels, and career criminals—not to mention the ongoing threat of terrorism. Today we face marching hordes of thousands (that have formed coincidentally on the eve of the mid-term elections) from Central America and Mexico who are demanding immediate entry into our country. When asked about his own immigration solution Beto stated that he would be “open” to abolishing ICE. Really? You would consider abolishing the agency charged with enforcing the immigration and customs laws of a sovereign nation? [see below]

Rep. O’Rourke has since tried to walk back and revise his original statement and now says he would transfer ICE duties to another agency but goes on to say that he doesn’t really know enough about the issues to articulate a policy. I would say he is trying to have it both ways.

Texas Monthly recently observed that social media is teaming with videos and postings ridiculing Cruz that they found very enjoyable. However, TM noticed that there were no similar videos lampooning Beto. The writer opined that conservatives are more interested in O’Rourke’s policy positions than “making fun of Beto.” Well, for once Texas Monthly is correct in their assessment of conservatives; we believe that public policy is serious business. Much is at stake and too many once free people have exchanged their liberties for promises of “free stuff” based upon math that doesn’t add up from charming politicians. We evaluate political candidates based upon their voting record and actions, period.

During Representative O’Rourke’s six years in the House, he has voted with Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi 94 percent of the time. Regardless of how personally charming you may find O’Rourke and how entertained you may be by his F-bomb laced stump speeches, the policies he has supported in Congress and advocated on the campaign trail have never worked anywhere they have been tried and would be disastrous for our economy, our culture, and your children’s future.

Conversely, in 2014 Senator Ted Cruz promised that to the best of his ability he would base his votes in the Senate upon the principles laid out in our Constitution. He promised that he would stand for those principles regardless of the political winds or even the leadership of his own party. Over the past four years, Senator Cruz has taken numerous positions that may have been unpopular with the political class but kept faith with his constituents. In so doing, he has at times incurred the wrath of Republican leaders and became the target of vicious media attacks. But Ted has been true to his word and has the third highest Conservative Review rating in the Senate. I have engaged in public policy and worked to elect principled leaders for 42 years, beginning with Ronald Reagan. I have learned that men like Cruz who refuse to conform to the “inside the beltway” customs of career politicians are rare indeed.

I hope you will join me in sending Senator Cruz back to Washington on November 6th. We can be confident that he will continue to be a reliable vote for constitutionalist judges, reasonable immigration policies, robust domestic energy, control of our own medical care, and protection of the unborn. Texans need Ted Cruz in Washington more than ever!

This is an outside commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to

Kyle L. Stallings

Kyle L. Stallings is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Desert Royalty Company, LLC. Kyle graduated from Texas Tech University in 1978 with a degree in Real Estate Finance. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, First Liberty and is a co-founder of MarketPlace Midland. Mr. Stallings is a member of the Texas Business Leadership Roundtable (formerly the Governor's Business Council) and serves on the Texas Lieutenant Governor’s Workforce and Economic Development Advisory Board and on the Baylor Leadership Council.