Editorials

Want to win Texas, Democrats? Don’t go too far left on border, energy in debate

O’Rourke and Castro spar over immigration

Democratic presidential candidates former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro sparred over immigration during the first primary debate for the 2020 elections in downtown Miami on June 26, 2019.
Up Next
Democratic presidential candidates former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro sparred over immigration during the first primary debate for the 2020 elections in downtown Miami on June 26, 2019.

As Democratic presidential candidates are descending on Houston for their next debate, their party is more competitive in Texas than in decades.

Several congressional and legislative seats are in reach, and there’s even talk a Democrat could outpoll Donald Trump, which would reverse a 40-year trend. Tarrant County is a huge part of that; it’s been the state’s largest red county but is solidly purple these days.

Two native sons, Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke, will be among the 10 candidates on stage Thursday, both looking for a breakthrough. And the Texas primary is rapidly approaching. It’s the second-biggest prize available in the nominating contest, and our voters will start going to the polls just four weeks after Iowa kicks things off early next year.

And yet, Thursday night’s debate could hurt the cause far more than help. Democratic candidates have spent months leaping over each other to get further to the left on issues that matter most to the state, immigration and energy chief among them.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

Hey, who writes these editorials?

Editorials are the positions of the Editorial Board, which serves as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s institutional voice. The members of the board are: Cynthia M. Allen, columnist; Steve Coffman, executive editor; Bud Kennedy, columnist; Juan Antonio Ramos, editorial director of La Estrella, the Star-Telegram’s bilingual publication; and Ryan J. Rusak, opinion editor. Most editorials are written by Rusak and edited by Coffman. Editorials are unsigned because they represent the board’s consensus positions, not the views of individual writers.

Read more by clicking the arrow in the upper right.

How are topics and positions chosen?

The Editorial Board meets regularly to discuss issues in the news and what points should be made in editorials. We strive to build a consensus to produce the strongest editorials possible, but when we differ, we put matters to a vote.

The board aims to be consistent with stances it has taken in the past but usually engages in a fresh discussion based on new developments and different perspectives.

We focus on local and state news, though we will also weigh in on national issues with an eye toward their impact on Texas or the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

How are these different from news articles or signed columns?

News reporters strive to keep their opinions out of what they write. They have no input on the Editorial Board’s stances. The board consults their reporting and expertise but does its own research for editorials.

Signed columns by writers such as Allen, Kennedy and Rusak contain the writer’s personal opinions.

How can I respond to an editorial, suggest a topic or ask a question?

We invite readers to write letters to be considered for publication. The preferred method is an email to letters@star-telegram.com. To suggest a topic or ask a question, please email Rusak directly at rrusak@star-telegram.com.

Texas may be trending in a new direction, but it’s not suddenly Massachusetts. So here’s what we hope to hear from the 10 candidates — and some advice, in case they don’t want to squander the moment.

Immigration: We don’t expect a lot of tough talk on border security. Frankly, we’ve heard enough of that from the current president. But Texans do want a president who will ensure both order and compassion in our immigration system.

Democrats need to spell out how they would finally overcome gridlock on the issue and lead the nation to a comprehensive approach that address border security, the status of those here illegally, and how to craft the immigration system the nation needs as part of a modern workforce.



We expect any Democratic successor would have a very different approach from Trump. If that includes reversing asylum policy and allowing claimants to stay in the U.S. while their cases are considered, we need to hear how you’ll help manage the flow of migrants from Central America.

What will you do to ensure facilities are adequate? How will your administration ease the burden on local communities in Texas, including our schools?

Energy: No industry is more important to Texas, and talk of eliminating fossil fuels within 10 or 12 years strikes us as all hat, no cattle.

One of your frontrunners, Elizabeth Warren, says she’d shut down the fracking industry on day one. Thousands of Texans would be suddenly unemployed, and the entire nation would see a drastic spike in energy costs.

Hydraulic fracturing has its flaws, but it has fueled tremendous economic growth, especially in the Fort Worth-area’s Barnett Shale. Threats to shut it off are a quick way to lose the argument here.

But Texans are open to change. We’ve led the way on wind power. Talk sensibly about the long-term transitions needed, not unrealistic steps that would cripple our economy.

Defense: Democrats typically want to rein in military spending, and that sets off alarm bells for Fort Worth leaders and workers. We hope you’ll show commitment to the programs and companies that have done much to maintain the nation’s robust defense. And we’re eager to hear your plans to help veterans, particularly with health care, and support active-duty families. There’s a lot of both in Texas.

Simply put, your party has an unprecedented opportunity in Texas. More Texans are listening to you than in the past. But they need to hear a balanced message, or many may quickly tune out.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments