I have gone to four Beto O’Rourke events at this point. The only times I have been able to talk to him is either by asking him a question at a town hall in front of hundreds of people, or by taking a photo with him. I used the chance to take a photo with him as a chance to get him on camera promising to review the bills on the People’s Platform. I’m not so sure he’s actually going to do that, but at least he’s on film promising to do so. Beto has only cosponsored two out of eight bills on the People’s Platform at the current time.
I understand that this man is busy campaigning, but it’s very troubling that as a journalist, I have yet to be able to talk to him one on one for more than 20 seconds. The only time I was able to talk to him one on one, it was to take a picture. The only way I can really communicate with him is through his campaign staff.
Kim Olson is running for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. She is also traveling to every county in the state. However, unlike Beto, she had absolutely no problem taking about ten minutes talking to me and putting it on film. Because of my youthful appearance and lack of professional equipment, Kim Olson thought I was merely a student doing a project. Still, Olson had absolutely no problem allowing me to interview her.
Similarly Jeffrey Payne, candidate for governor, took a substantial amount of time to talk to me. We talked for a good forty five minutes. Just like Kim Olson and Beto O’Rourke, Jeffrey Payne is traveling to every single county in Texas many times over.
President of Our Revolution, Nina Turner, was on an incredibly tight schedule and had a long line of people trying to talk to her. Turner was traveling across the country. But, she still agreed to a short 2 minute interview.
At the most recent Harris County Democratic Party event, I asked six or seven different candidates running for local offices if they would like to be interviewed. They all said yes, except for one. The only person that said no was simply because she was unfamiliar with Truth Against The Machine.
All of these candidates were collecting signatures so that they could be on the ballot in the upcoming primary on March 8, 2018 and they were fairly busy. But still, they were all very happy to answer my questions and be on camera.
Two other candidates for congress running in Texas 2nd congressional district, J. Darnell Jones and Ali Khorasani both took time out of their day to talk to me extensively. J. Darnell Jones in particular manages his time very well and has been very busy campaigning.
Side note: All of these other interviews will be uploaded soon!
At the Harris County Democratic Party Friendsgiving event, I found the room Beto was in. Beto was in the room talking to people and taking pictures with them. I thought to myself “finally, I may be able to actually ask him a few questions on camera one on one.”
When I asked the kind lady in front of the room with a sign sheet if I would be able to get in she said “this is the VIP room.” When I asked her how I get into the VIP room she said “I believe you have to be a donor, an elected official, or something like that.” When I asked her how much I had to donate to get into the VIP room she said “I believe at least $500.”
Five. Hundred. Dollars. In order to speak one on one to the man that wants to represent you for more than thirty seconds, you have to donate over FIVE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS. Beto has been emphasizing how he has had “over 61,000 individual contributors, averaging $44 each, while taking no PAC money. Most of it from within the state of Texas.”
Beto has also been emphasizing how he out-raised Ted Cruz in the last quarter with small dollar donations.
The fact that Beto does not take any PAC money, and that most of his money comes from small dollar donations, means absolutely nothing if he gives preferential treatment to the people who have donated a large amount of money to his campaign.
It also makes Beto look like a complete and total liar for telling me that he “doesn’t know who his donors are.” Beto spends more time with his large donors than he does with his small donors. Beto gives them “VIP Access.” Beto is not a celebrity. Beto is a public servant and a politician!
To be fair, Beto is not the only politician that does things like this. In fact, most high-profile politicians do this. However, Beto is making a point out of, and constantly emphasizing, that he does not take PAC money and that he is among only a handful of politicians to do so.
The entire point of a politician not taking PAC money is so that they are not beholden to the interests of wealthy donors. If a politician takes more time to talk to the people that have donated large amounts of money to their campaign it REALLY makes it look like they are going to be beholden to the interests of their more wealthy donors. No politician should be the main focus of an event where a voter has to spend a large amount of money to speak with them one on one.
Spending more time talking to wealthy donors is probably going to corrupt politicians without them even realizing it. If someone has donated a large amount of money to a politician’s campaign and the politician is aware of this fact, the large donor’s opinion is almost automatically going to matter to the politician more than the opinion of the average voter.
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