Beto O’Rourke and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler spoke about the growing possibility of a political transformation in Texas during last week’s Rolling Stone’s Fridays for Unity event.
As O’Rourke noted, it’s not only feasible that Joe Biden could win the long-red state in the presidential election, but Democrats also have a fighting chance at securing a majority in the Texas legislature for the first time in 20 years. Much of that has to do with shifting demographics and growing diversity throughout Texas, which Butler said he saw inklings of during his childhood outside of Houston, but which finally seemed to mature into a formidable political force during O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign.
Elsewhere in the conversation, O’Rourke spoke about the grassroots voter mobilization efforts his organization, Powered By People, is spearheading in Texas, while Butler recalled driving to Ohio to play a rally for Barack Obama when he was still running to be the Democratic nominee in 2008. O’Rourke also shared a story about Lubbock, Texas, rock hero Joe Ely befriending the Clash while on tour in London, and then taking the group around West Texas the next time the U.K. outfit was in the United States.
“I love that Joe Ely and Willie Nelson, Leon Bridges, Win Butler — this amazing tradition of musicians connects and transcends the borders of Texas to the point that, one of my favorite bands of all time, the Clash, end up coming here to find out what the magic is all about,” O’Rourke said. “And I feel that finally, this year, I hope, with your help and the help of others, [it’s] gonna be revealed again — that this stereotype you have of Texas of being regressive and keeping people down and not revealing its true character, we’re gonna break through on all that.”
Butler added: “I feel really optimistic for the first time in a long time about Texas and about the future of this country. Like I really genuinely — it’s not all doom and gloom. There is something happening.”
Rolling Stone‘s two-part virtual event kicked off on last Friday and featured Beto O’Rourke in conversation with Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, California Governor Gavin Newsom with Mandy Moore and Taylor Goldsmith, and more. Selena Gomez, Jeff Tweedy, Stacey Abrams, Bernie Sanders and others participated in the virtual event — the first of two parts featuring a mix of unique conversations, musical performances and special guest appearances. The second part will air on Friday, October 30th on Rolling Stone‘s YouTube page at 8 p.m. ET.