Texas doesn’t elect Democrats. In the last 24 years, not one has won a statewide office. The 28 million residents of the Lone Star State may come from different backgrounds and concerns, but Texan voters overwhelmingly share a preference for right-leaning politicians.
Yet over the past nineteen months, Beto O’Rourke has awoken blue Texas. In his challenge to incumbent Republican senator Ted Cruz, the congressman from El Paso has rallied together big-city liberals, suburban retirees, and rural libertarians by offering a different vision of Texas politics—one based on universal healthcare and passing the DREAM Act.
Over the next 25 days, in the last weeks of O’Rourke’s campaign, Texas Monthly will take listeners along on the most expensive, most talked-about political race of 2018. In Underdog, a podcast produced in partnership with Pineapple Street Media, senior editor Eric Benson (who profiled O’Rourke for the magazine’s cover in January) will interview experts and volunteers, enthusiasts and skeptics as the congressman makes his way across the state. Below, listen to the first episode, “On the Road Again,” as Benson talks to political pollsters, small-town supporters, and Beto-curious Republicans to start answering the race’s central question: can Beto change the future of Texas politics, or will Beto-mania turn out to be just another liberal fantasy?
Listen to Texas Monthly and Pineapple Street Media’s Underdog via Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.