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Beto O'Rourke: 'I don't know' if I'm a progressive, 'I'm for everyone'


Potential 2020 presidential candidate hesitates to commit to a label

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As Rep. Beto O'Rourke continues to gain momentum in polls as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, he appears hesitant to claim any label that would nail him down to any one spot on the Democratic Party spectrum, according to The Independent.

The Democratic Party, with a wide-ranging and deep field of people considering seeking the presidential nomination, could determine much about its future based on whether it produces an extremely far-left nominee, or chooses someone considered closer to the "establishment" wing of the party.

O'Rourke, who has been criticized both for being too far left and for being too moderate, may be waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before he picks a side. Here's what he said when asked if he identified as a progressive:

"I don't know. I'm just, as you may have seen or heard over the course of the campaign, I'm not big on labels. I don't get all fired up about party or classifying or defining people based on a label or a group. I'm for everyone."

O'Rourke insists his politics are based on who he is, not on pandering to a particular voting base.

"I am who I am. I laid out my vision for Texas and this country over the last two years without taking a single poll to find out where people were on the issues or how popular it was or how it would track in this community or that—said the same thing in Amarillo that I said in Houston, Texas, so I mean, go figure."

For reference, here's where O'Rourke stands on some key issues, according to the website for his failed Senate campaign:

  • Guns: O'Rourke is against the sale of "weapons of war and high-capacity magazines" and opposes concealed carry reciprocity
  • Health care: O'Rourke favors "achieving universal healthcare coverage," potentially through a single-payer system
  • Immigration: O'Rourke wants to "end the militarization of our immigration enforcement system" and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children
  • Environment: O'Rourke favors rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, and wants to "empower the EPA to exercise oversight" over drilling, fracking and pipeline construction activities
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