Texas Forever: “Friday Night Lights” votes in the Texas Senate Election

Photo taken by the author (years ago on an old iPhone) at the Texas Capitol

It’s October in Texas and Dillon is divided. The East Dillon Lions are gearing up to play the Panthers of West Dillon and the town is decked out in red or blue. Look a little closer at those red and blue signs on the lawns, and you’ll see they aren’t touting QB1. Politics have taken over this sleepy West Texas town and those red and blue lawn signs are reppin’ Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke. To these residents, the showdown between Representative O’Rourke and Senator Cruz is just as significant as the battle on the gridiron. So who does Dillon go for? Let’s go to the streets (yes, Jason Street and others) to find out:

Tami Taylor: I don’t think anyone is surprised that Tami is riding with team Beto. With a passion for social justice, she fully supports Beto’s mission of treating everyone with dignity and respect. Tami lives for her family, her students, and her community. You can say the same thing about Beto. Win or lose though, you can be sure Tami will be drinking a big glass of wine on election night.

Coach Taylor: A few years ago — think season 1 and 2 — Coach would have been for Cruz. Why should the government be taking so much of his damn money?! But after a fight with Tami, and the silent treatment from Julie, he’s come to realize that the status quo just doesn’t get it done anymore. Coach sees the good that Beto is trying to bring, not only to Texas, but to the rest of the country. Beto’s passion and appeals to unity bring that little corner smile to Coach’s face. In fact, the more he thinks about it, and he’d never say it aloud, Beto kinda reminds him of himself.

Tim Riggins: Unfortunately, Riggins missed the deadline to register. Even if he did intend to vote, he wasn’t quite sure for whom. The Texan in him (and Billy) says Cruz. After all, if you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man. But Tyra has been selling him hard on Beto and he agrees with the prevailing sentiment that Cruz has one of the most punchable faces on planet Earth. It’s impossible to know where Tim would have ended up, but he’ll raise a beer to whoever wins, because #TexasForever.

Julie Taylor: Julie is taking a break this semester to go door to door stumping for Beto. One of her old Habit for Humanity friends is working for Beto’s campaign and Julie is hoping she can use that connection to meet Rep. O’Rourke before the election. In the meantime, she is out there protesting Trump, supporting the #MeToo movement, and talking up Beto through all the small towns she can.

Matt Saracen: Matt is disillusioned with everything he sees in the news and going on with politics. Why can’t we all just get along, he mumbles. He hates that Julie always has the news on, but loves how passionate she is about causes that matter to her. He’s going to vote for Beto, because Julie has worked so hard promoting him and raves about him all the time. But is he really as good looking at Julie and his grandma think?

Landry Clarke: Is there a third party candidate? If so, that’s who has Landry’s vote. Never a fan of the establishment, Landry always jams to his own band…Crucifictorious to be exact.

The McCoys: Joe McCoy and his family are voting for Senator Cruz. In fact, Joe is a big contributor to Cruz’s campaign and he jokes that if he was smart enough to have gone to Yale, he definitely would have been friends with Brett Kavanagh. While Mrs. McCoy is intrigued by Beto, she knows she can’t disagree with her husband and vote against Cruz. JD wears his “MAGA” hat around school, but not on Fridays since he’d never wear red on game day.

Buddy Garrity: Senator Cruz is Buddy Garrity’s guy all the way. In fact, he loves telling the story of how years ago, Ted Cruz stopped by his dealership looking for a new car. He didn’t buy one, but that’s okay, Buddy is pretty sure he’ll remember him anyway.

Lyla Garrity: Lyla’s faith is driving her to vote for Cruz, who she believes is a true Christian. She is leading the initiative on her campus to register college students to vote (she texted Riggins to remind him), especially for Senator Cruz.

Grandma Saracen: One might thinks that Grandma is voting for Cruz — most of her generation is — but Beto showed up to a local town hall and knocked her off her rocker. He’s just so charming and well spoken. He took the time to talk to her about her son and expressed his appreciation for his service. When Julie stops by the house, she’s been telling Grandma all the good things Beto has been saying to help women and help those who can’t afford their medicine. Plus, she just loves Tami and Coach Taylor and knows they are good people, so must be voting for a good person.

Vince Howard: Vince has done a great job trying to get people in his community to register to vote. He’s been going door to door and shop to shop. He knows that in order for Beto to win, he needs all of votes he can get, especially those of Black Texans. Vince saw how Black female voters in Alabama influenced the election for Doug Jones and he wants to see the same thing happen in Texas. Vince knows that one day his life may take him out of Texas, but he’s got to focus on today and doing whatever he can to help the people around him thrive, especially the ones he loves so much — aka his mom.

Jason Street: Jason is keeping a close eye on how both candidates are running their campaigns. He follows both on social media, watches all their interviews, and even attended a rally or two for each candidate. With all that research though, he still won’t come out with who he is voting for. Some in his inner circle are wondering if he’s monitoring both campaigns so closely so he knows what to do, and what not to do, if (more likely, when) he officially announces his candidacy for state rep…

Luke Cafferty and Becky Sproles: Becky can’t believe Luke is voting for Cruz and it’s causing quite the rift in their relationship. Luke says his parents are voting for Cruz and believe he is God’s choice, so he tells Becky he can’t go against his parents. Becky is pissed he won’t develop his own opinion and open his eyes to what is going on in the country, especially to women and people of color.

Smash Williams: Smash is casting his vote for Beto, because #BlackLivesMatter, and if he wants to take a damn knee before his games, he sure as hell will.

All in all, it’s tough to say which candidate will win in Dillon, but this little slice of West Texas certainly has Beto fever. We’ll find out the final score of this Texan showdown on November 6th. Until then, clear eyes, full hearts, go vote.