Country music legend Willie Nelson unveiled a new political song called “Vote ‘Em Out” Saturday night while performing at an Austin rally for Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.
Nelson has been openly supporting O’Rourke’s bid to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the upcoming midterms, drawing ire from some of his Trump-supporting fans. But the 85-year-old singer-songwriter from Abbott, TX, couldn’t care less. (He once wrote a song called “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” for chrissakes.)
A sweat-drenched O’Rourke, a former punk rock musician, joined Nelson in a rendition of the famous country anthem, “On the Road Again,” a tribute to the Democratic candidate’s tireless campaigning that has taken him to all 254 Texas counties to stump and meet with voters, The Dallas Morning News reported.
With the Austin skyline in the background, Nelson rallied the crowd with his new song, singing: “Vote ‘em out! And when they’re gone we’ll sing and dance and shout…If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out.”
But the main event was O’Rourke, who delivered a typically styled speech with electrifying progressive populism, an anti-venom to President Donald Trump’s vitriolic, self-aggrandizing, and divisive rallies. Together, O’Rourke and Nelson drew tens of thousands of supporters, which Democratic Coalition co-founder Scott Dworkin said was more “than any Trump rally I’ve seen this year.”
“Cruz couldn’t get this many fired up people together, even if he paid them,” he added.
O’Rourke supporter Nikki Kelley told The Dallas Morning News, “This is what it must have felt like to be in Chicago when Obama was getting big.”
The Democratic candidate touched on themes that have resonated throughout his campaign, including immigration, pay raises for teachers, universal healthcare, marijuana legalization, an end to the mass incarceration of African Americans, and the right of women to make their own choices about reproductive health, among others.
“The people of the future, our kids and our grandkids, are depending on what we do at this moment,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
O’Rourke and Cruz had planned to hold their second of three debates on Sunday, but it was postponed due to the firestorm in Washington over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
“Senator Cruz will be in Washington, D.C. for weekend votes,” the University of Houston, a host of Sunday’s delayed debate, announced on Facebook. “UH, Univision 45 and ABC-13 are working with the campaigns to find a new date to reschedule.”
In a debate last weekend, O’Rourke accused Cruz of “working for the clampdown,” a reference to the legendary British punk band The Clash.
A final debate is scheduled for Oct. 16.
FiveThirtyEight has the race at a toss-up, with Cruz slightly leading the polls in the traditionally red state by 3-4 percentage points.