Pro-Legalization Congressional Candidate Primarying a Democrat in El Paso

Note background color.In The Declaration of Independents (now

pre-orderable in updated paperback form for just $10.19
!) and

, Nick Gillespie and I have long been arguing that the
most opportune way for Democrats to emulate the tactical lessons of
the Tea Party is to challenge their own party’s drug warriors in
primary elections. So I am very heartened to see this development,
as reported by
Mother Jones

When a new congressman heads to Washington from Texas’ 16th
congressional district, he tends to stick around a while. The 16th,
a border district that includes the city of El Paso, has been
represented by just three men in 48 years; primary challenges are
virtually unheard of. So it was noteworthy when, earlier this
month, the area’s largest newspaper asked its readers to fire
eight-term incumbent Rep. Silvestre Reyes.

In Reyes’ place, the El Paso Times recommended Beto
O’Rourke, a 40-year-old former El Paso councilman who’s running
neck and neck with the incumbent ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic
primary. O’Rourke is an outsider in two key respects. He is a white
man of Irish [descent] in a district that’s 77 percent Latino. And
he is, as the author of a new book proposing the legalization of
marijuana, an outspoken critic of federal drug policy. That makes
O’Rourke’s clash with Reyes more than just a story of an insurgent
taking on the machine—in a border district, the contest is partly a
referendum on the War on Drugs itself.

Reason wrote about Beto O’Rourke in