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Culture / Newsy

Beto and Ted Cruz Battle GQ Style in New National Showcase

Even O’Rourke’s Dodge Minivan and Cruz’s Mammoth Pickup Truck Are Facing Off

BY // 09.17.18

Ted Cruz’s pickup truck plays something of a best supporting actor role in GQ magazine’s story on the most interesting Senate race in America. Of course, it’s a “Texas-sized pickup truck” in GQ’s telling. How could it be anything but?

Cruz also gets off arguably the most memorable line of this four page, national magazine story detailing the battle between him and Democratic rock star Beto O’Rourke. “There are two Americas,” Cruz says. “GQ America and Field & Stream America.”

The inference — which Cruz comes back to again and again in the piece — is that there is no way the right-wing incumbent senator from Texas will possibly get a fair shake from a men’s magazine based in New York City. On that count, Cruz turns out to be largely wrong.

GQ‘s story is balanced. Cruz is given the space to try and make the point that he’s a much more fun-loving guy than the way he’s portrayed. On this count, one could argue that GQ and writer Christopher Hooks are fairer to him than the president from his own party.

After all, Donald Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney is the one who said that the only reason Beto is even close in the race is because Cruz is unlikeable.

“I like to have fun,” Cruz insists to GQ. “I enjoy life. I like to make jokes.”

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Of course, the most notable thing about this feature story in GQ’s latest issue is that it was written at all. The idea of a national general interest magazine that does not concentrate exclusively on politics running a long piece on a Senate race between a Republican and Democrat in Texas would have been unthinkable not long ago. As in last year. Or six months ago.

After all, in red state Texas, these kind of matchups are traditionally more slaughters than fights. No Democrat has won a statewide election since 1994. And it’s been 30 years since a Democrat won a Senate seat in Texas.

Beto’s charisma — and his ideas — have helped at least shake those longstanding Texas truths. GQ details a scene in Farmers Branch (the Dallas suburb) where more than a 1,000 people pack a college gym to hear the Great Democratic Hope talk — and even the hundreds turned away because the place is overcapacity leave happy and energized.

“There’s so many things going on right now that literally can’t wait until the next election,” Beto tells the magazine after the rally. Then, Beto gets into his campaign minivan.

Yes, it’s also Beto’s Dodge Caravan vs. Cruz’s monster pickup truck in this story. Who doesn’t enjoy a little symbolism?

Ted Cruz’s Beto Love?

Cruz even gives his opponent something of a rare compliment in this national magazine piece while bemoaning the fact that politics has become way too serious. Remember, Ted Cruz is a fun-loving guy.

“He seems to be having fun,” Cruz says of Beto. “I will give him that.”

Of course, this is politics. Compliments can come with double-edged barbs too. Cruz also compares Beto to Bernie Sanders, calling him “an honest socialist.” Meow.

GQ also addresses the idea that Democrats just need “a good loss” in Texas. The notion that the party’s infrastructure barely even exists in large swaths of the state and that Beto’s tour through the state that has him visiting all 254 Texas counties is almost an early victory just by itself.

The upstart challenger insists he does not see it that way himself.

“I will very often get disappointed at myself or disappointed with our team if I feel like we didn’t reach what we were supposed to reach or achieve,” Beto says. “What I never do is leave (a rally) like this with anything other than the feeling that, ‘Holy shit, there are so many amazing people.’ ”

Fire up the Dodge minivan and the mammoth pickup truck. There are more miles to go in America’s most fascinating Senate race.

Home, chic home.

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