A video clip of Beto O"Rourke, the autonomous candidate for U.S. Senate, expressing assistance for NFL football player kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem has actually gone viral, earning national attention. Yet how does it play amongst Texas voters?

by Patrick Svitek Aug. 23, 2018 Updated: 2 PM main


height to bottom: U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso; part Jacksonville Jaguars football players take it a knee during the 2017 season; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Credit: Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

Texas elections 2018

U.S. Sen.Ted Cruz defeated Democratic challenger Beto O"Rourkein the gyeongju for U.S. Senate. Viewfull 2018 Texas election resultsorsubscribe toThe Brieffor the recent election news.

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Editor"s note: This story has actually been update throughout.

Since 2016, Texas Republicans have actually been spoiling for a fight end NFL players protesting during the nationwide anthem, i was sure they have actually a winning problem on their hands — or at least one that will fire up their voters.

That fight has actually now come in the state"s 2018 U.S. Senate race.

A video of the autonomous nominee, Beto O"Rourke, recently voicing support for the protests has actually gone viral, earning thousands of thousands of social media shares and also garnering praise from Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes. The Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz, and his allies have actually seized top top O"Rourke"s place to press their long-running discussion that despite the nationwide fanfare, O"Rourke is out of step with the Texans who will actually decide the election.

There has not been any kind of recent publicly polling in Texas gauging support particularly for the protests, which participating players have said are meant to lug attention to police brutality and racial injustice in the unified States. Yet multiple college of Texas/Texas Tribune polls have noted some indications about how Texans feel around the controversy.

In a blog post Wednesday, UT/TT pollsters Jim Henson and Joshua Blank suggested the numbers present O"Rourke"s place is anything but a clear-cut political winner in Texas.

"While that too soon to judge O’Rourke’s national prospects — regardless of the herbal eagerness to discover the Next big Thing — the response on politics Twitter illustrates the in moments favor his Houston comments (and many others on a cultivation list), O’Rourke watch a lot choose a national autonomous candidate," the pollsters wrote. "Relevant perspectives in Texas, however, imply that the still has a turbulent schedule to obtain through before he graduates come the pros."

The politics fervor end the nationwide players protests is nothing brand-new for optimal Texas Republicans, who have actually seized on lock to varying degrees due to the fact that they started in 2016. Cruz has actually been specifically vocal, bashing the protesting players last year as "rich, spoiled athletes disrespecting the flag."

The saga in the Senate race started Aug. 10 in ~ an O"Rourke city hall in Houston, whereby the candidate fielded a inquiry from a guy who stated he come from a family members of veterans and found that "incredibly frustrating that civilization seem to it is in OK with" the player protests. The man asked O"Rourke: do you uncover it disrespectful?

"My short answer is no, ns don"t think it"s disrespectful," O"Rourke replied, offering a preface prior to giving his long answer: "Reasonable human being can i dont agree on this worry — let"s start there — and it provides them no much less American come come down on a different conclusion top top this issue."

O"Rourke walk on to offer a prolonged recollection that civil legal rights struggles in the united States, the sacrifices Americans have actually made for those rights and the an ext recent national conversation bordering police shootings that unarmed black color men.

"And for this reason nonviolently, peacefully, when the eye of this country are watching these games, they take it a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this difficulty to ensure the we deal with it," O"Rourke concluded. "That is why they are doing it, and I can think of nothing an ext American 보다 to peacefully stand up or take it a knee because that your rights anytime, anywhere, anyplace."

The following weekend in ~ a campaign stop in corpus Christi, Cruz lugged up O"Rourke"s comments while responding to a question about respect for police.

" offered a long, long answer that finished with, he quote "couldn"t think of anything much more American" 보다 kneeling come protest the national anthem," Cruz said, recalling the patriotism he stated he saw during a recent tour that Texas army bases. "The comparison of every human being there having actually that respect — you know, as soon as Beto O"Rourke claims he can"t think of anything more American, I"ve gained to recognize — i can. Those soldiers, those sailors, those airmen, those Marines, that fought and bled to defend the flag — yeah, that"s something an ext American."

The issue appear to cool turn off for a couple of days — until Tuesday afternoon, as soon as the website NowThisNews tweeted the video clip of O"Rourke"s comments, collection to dramatic music and accompanied by a inscription saying O"Rourke "brilliantly describes why NFL football player kneeling throughout the anthem is no disrespectful." The tweet easily racked up end 100,000 retweets and also got the fist of human being like talk present host Ellen DeGeneres, that told O"Rourke she would choose to accomplish him, and basketball superstar LeBron James, who called the video a "must watch" and praised O"Rourke because that his "candid kind words." amongst those that retweeted the video clip was Colin Kaepernick, the player who helped spark the protests in 2016.

With the video clip ricocheting approximately the internet, O"Rourke ongoing to tackle the problem Wednesday evening at a town hall in Texas City, where the very first question he gained was about NFL players kneeling during the nationwide anthem. O"Rourke gave solution that echoed his initial one, no backing away from the assertion that there was a patriotic high quality to the protests.

"To peacefully, there is no violence, speak to attention to difficulties that we have actually going ~ above in this country, so the our conscience, our eyes, our focus, space directed ~ above those who otherwise might not have actually a voice ... Ns think the is something unique American," O"Rourke said.

Meanwhile, Texas Republicans ongoing to present Thursday the they space happy to have the dispute over kneeling throughout the anthem, v Cruz first firing off a tweet mocking gibbs Kevin Bacon"s take on of the viral video. Hours later, he sent out a more serious tweet on the subject reiterating his comment from the corpus Christi stop and suggesting O"Rourke to be "raising large $$ indigenous Hollywood by sustaining NFL protests the the national anthem," in ~ odds through the views of many Texans.

Also ~ above Thursday, state party Chairman James Dickey issuing a statement call O"Rourke"s an interpretation of American "utterly flawed" and also his comment a "slap in the face" come veterans. The episode, Dickey added, "further displayed fail to recognize the values organized by the voter of Texas when he runs tenaciously farther and also farther come the left every day."

O"Rourke clearly sees part political upside to the illustration as well. Together of Thursday, his campaign was running on facebook ads highlighting his viral comments on the player protests. Meanwhile, an O"Rourke project stop Thursday afternoon in Houston featured a surprised guest: Arian Foster, the former Houston Texans and also Miami dolphin running earlier who kneeled during the anthem in 2016.

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