Just after 10 p.m., Beto O’Rourke took the stage at the baseball stadium for the El Paso Chihuahuas to The Clash’s “The Clampdown,” which became something of a campaign mantra ever since he slipped in a reference during his first debate against Ted Cruz.
The crowd had grown rather restless and demoralized in the hour before he came on, as it became clear that he wasn’t going to pull off an historic upset. Many people were tearing up.
A local musician (didn’t catch his name) was killing time on stage, playing sad acoustic music, literally wailing at times. It was a rather fitting musical choice for the moment. “You guys doing alright?” he asked after one song. The answer was not resounding. “There’s a bigger picture, right?” he asked, straining for optimism.
But as Beto took the stage, he brought the crowd back to life. “I’m as inspired, I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been in my life,” O’Rourke said. “And tonight’s loss does nothing to diminish how I feel about Texas and this country.” He promised to continue fighting for a more aspirational Texas and country, to transcend the little shit. He said he’d even work with Cruz if it meant getting Texas to lead on things like universal health care and immigration reform. He applauded his campaign staff and the people who fueled his bid “To do what no one thought was possible — to build a campaign solely comprised of people, damning the differences. … None of that small stuff matters now.”