The Slatest

Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz: Real Texas Men Don’t Have Nicknames

US Senator Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz.
Jim Watson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, after he comfortably won the Republican primary for his Senate seat, Ted Cruz asserted his Lone Star State bona fides by dropping a country music radio ad aimed at educating Texans about what real Texas men are not.

Apart from repeating over and over that a Lone Star man is not a liberal (“If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man,” the listener is reminded three times in the one-minute ad), the jingle seemed to emphasize that there was something particularly non-Texan about his opponent: his name.

Cruz’s opponent, Robert O’Rourke, a white man of Irish ancestry from El Paso, goes by the name Beto, a Spanish-language nickname. O’Rourke told CNN that his parents called him Beto on “day one” and that he has gone by the name his whole life.

But apparently concerned that simply mocking Beto for his name wasn’t folksy enough, the jingle writer reminisced about “stories” he heard, which I can assume were only passed around on porches or sitting around campfires:

I remember reading stories, liberal Robert wanted to fit in. So he changed a name to “Beto” and hid it with a grin.

But that’s not the only problem with “liberal man” Beto, who, it’s implied, is not “tough as Texas.” The real problem is he wants to open borders and take away our guns. (The jingle writer rhymes “guns” with “Texans,” which I guess is fine.)

Don’t forget that, despite the existence of a two-party system, and despite the states’ thriving multicultural cities, evolving identity, and diversified economy not based solely on wrangling cattle, if you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.

Update, March 7, 2018, at 3:15 p.m.: O’Rourke responded on Twitter with some preeeetty solid evidence in his defense.

Molly Olmstead is a Slate assistant social media editor.