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No excuses: Can’t win without real voters

 

With the election countdown now measured in hours, Texans might be tempted to forgo the trip to the ballot box altogether. Why bother, with storms in the forecast for Tuesday? After all, governor’s a shoe-in.

The incumbent junior senator, a Texas Republican, is ahead by 3.6 percent in the other marquee race, according to a University of Texas at Tyler poll.

Or 5 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Or 6 percent, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Or 10 points, according to a CBS 11/Dixie Strategies Texas Poll, released last Tuesday. No one poll is surefire; but all polls seem to point in one direction.

Prevailing political wisdom suggested this all along. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who has a prominent role in the re-election of Republican incumbents this year, seemed to call it correctly weeks ago, when this race was tight, within the margin of error. Once Texans learned more clearly about the political positions of Cruz’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, D-El Paso, Cornyn said in a conference call with Texas reporters, Cruz would pull away. Maybe so.

By virtually every measure, O’Rourke stood to the far left of Cruz. That included issues like abortion, border security, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and even that growing caravan of migrants marching through Mexico toward the Texas border.

Many political experts suggested Cruz would carry rural Texas, still potent red ground, while O’Rourke would fare better among progressive voters in the state’s metropolitan areas.

Still, O’Rourke proved formidable as an opponent and remains formidable today. This Senate race is the most expensive in America; O’Rourke has found a spot in the hearts of Democrats in Texas and beyond; some suggest that no matter the outcome of Tuesday’s General Election, O’Rourke may be someone for Republicans to reckon with in 2020.

There’s this, too: While Texans have turned out in staggering numbers in the early voting period that ended Friday, there will be plenty of room at the polling stations around the state Tuesday. This race and others are competitive; no one knows for certain where things stand until the greatest poll of all, the ballot box, is counted.

If you’re a Cruz supporter, you’d better vote. If you’re an O’Rourke supporter, there’s time to make that known and felt. If you’re neither, there are still plenty of election matters, state and local, to decide on Tuesday’s long ballot.

That’s how it is in every race, in every election, all the way to the bottom of the ticket. Candidates cannot win without voters who make it to the ballot box. Money and well wishes are one thing, votes another. Votes trump everything else.

It may rain Tuesday, but toughen up. No excuses.