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Will a Spanish nickname make the difference in the Cruz, O’Rourke Senate race in Texas?




Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) offers an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for approval so it can be debated on the floor of the House on July 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) offers an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for approval so it can be debated on the floor of the House on July 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Pete Marovich/Getty Images

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Ted Cruz’s senate campaign is having a laugh over over Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke’s nickname.

O’Rourke goes by Beto, but his birth name is Robert Francis, and he’s of Irish descent. O’Rourke has been going by Beto since he was a kid. As reported by Vox, there’s even a picture of him with the nickname embroidered on a sweater. But Cruz is capitalizing on O’Rourke’s so-called name misrepresentation. Cruz even made a radio ad about it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MvKElqdUxZg

Cruz has also played the name game. He’s of Cuban descent and was born Rafael, not Ted. But it could be naive to think that a name could sway voters of any ethnicity one way or another in a state that typically votes Republican. So what role do names play in politics?

Guest host Libby Denkmann speaks to a Houston Chronicle reporter and a political science professor to find out what’s in a name, and do voters care?

With guest host Libby Denkmann.

Guests:

Kevin Diaz, Washington D.C. correspondent for the Houston Chronicle and Hearst newspapers

Louis Desipio, political science and Chicano/Latino studies professor, and director of the Center for Democracy at the UC Irvine