Editorial: Keep a clean slate on dirty politics

The fight rages on: Beto O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz and the battle for the senate.

Both nominees are in full campaign mode, running on all cylinders in an effort to gain traction in a race that’s been neck and neck.

Unfortunately, it seems the pressure has encouraged some to play dirty.

Cruz’s camp, apparently desperate for a turnaround in the polls, has resorted to doctoring videos to bend the truth and mislead Texas voters.

One video in particular, which appeared on Cruz’s official Facebook page and YouTube channel Sept. 4, seems to imply O’Rourke supports the burning and desecration of the American flag. The ad even goes so far as to suggest O’Rourke finds the activity “inherently American.”

This, of course, is not the case. Cruz’s team has heavily spliced the original video, cherry-picking quotes in which O’Rourke supported peaceful, nonviolent protest and distorting his message to fit the fabricated narrative of the Cruz campaign.

The video operates on the assumption that Texas voters are incapable of thinking critically. It implies that we are complacent with being fed questionable information and hold no regard for accuracy or fair representation.

As Texans, we should be insulted.

But the deceit does not stop there.

More recently, bots have posed a threat as they continue to infiltrate social spaces online.

As publisher Lamar White Jr. noticed, scripted support for Cruz flooded Twitter at exactly the same time last week with the very same message.

Now, this may not necessarily be the doing of the Cruz camp itself — any rogue supporter with enough know-how could just as easily be the perpetrator.

But it’s yet another way voters can be misled, and it’s a prime example of just how insidious these slimy campaign tactics can be.

This is far from your grandmother’s election. Politicians and the people who support them have more tools than ever at their disposal to trick, cheat and lie to voters, and it’s up to us to teach ourselves how to discern the truth.

The fate of democracy depends on it.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of Opinion Editor Shay Cohen, Editor-in-Chief Narda Perez, News Editor Samantha Douty, Life and Entertainment Editor Maxwell Hilliard, Copy Desk Chief Caitlin Sherrill, Sports Reporter Dallas Johnson, News Reporter Awa Sy and News Reporter Jacob Reyes.

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