“There is a loss of civility, there is an anger, there is a rage on the far left that is frightening,” said incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz in his final debate with Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, both competing in one of the tightest races in this year’s midterm elections, as Newsweek recapped. “The images of the left-wing mob beating on the doors of the Supreme Court—that’s not good for the country.”
Cruz had been asked about the lack of civility in politics, and he tried to take the high road by saying that he would only attack his opponent’s platforms, not their families or personal lives. “We can disagree while treating each other with respect, while treating each other with civility,” he said.
But over the course of the debates Tuesday night, his actions showed just how much he represents this ugly moment in U.S. politics. After all, Cruz has aligned himself with a president who in 2016 insulted his wife and baselessly accused his father of killing JFK, and in this election, has tried to win votes using O’Rourke’s denouncement of the Dallas police officer who killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his own home.
“Don’t interrupt me, Jason,” Cruz snapped at moderator Jason Whitely, who had told him that his 90 seconds were up, to gasps from the audience. When asked to say something nice about his opponent, O’Rourke focused on Cruz’s love for his family, and his genuine ambition to serve and do good by his country. Cruz, master of the self-own, meanwhile, used the time to compare O’Rourke to Bernie Sanders and repeatedly called him a socialist.
Cruz faces surprisingly stiff competition from O’Rourke, who, despite Cruz’s seven-point lead, has raised a record $38 million this quarter, over three times the amount that Cruz has. And in what was supposed to be safe territory for Republicans this season, President Trump is also set to hold a rally for Cruz in Houston next Monday.
Despite the shifting momentum, there’s still a solid chance that Cruz will still take away the victory, but hopefully Texans can finally vote him out this November.