GOP strategist: O'Rourke should use NFL anthem issue to appeal to growing minority population in Texas

Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton on Tuesday said that Texas Senate hopeful Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate O'Rourke rakes in .1M online in August Texas showdown: Cruz, O'Rourke to face off in debate MORE (D-Texas) should use NFL players protesting the national anthem as an issue to appeal to the state's growing minority population.

Singleton says the contentious issue of NFL players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem is something that could "resonate" for O'Rourke.

"Texas is a state that is becoming more and more diverse, and what I would like to look at is enthusiasm as far as the numbers are concerned with African-Americans and Hispanics," Singleton, who served as an adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify Report: A third of Ben Carson’s appointees have no housing experience MORE, said. 

"What I would also go further to say is, I think that, potentially, if I was O'Rourke, if I was advising him, I would go back to Hispanics, I would go back to African-Americans and say, 'Look here you go again, Republicans are attempting to delegitimize your concerns about where we are going as a society. Is this what you want going forward?' " Singleton continued. 

"If I was advising him I would try to make this an issue because I think this is something that could resonate with a lot of minority voters in Texas," he said. 

A video showing O'Rourke defending NFL players who kneel during the anthem went viral last week. 

O'Rourke said in the clip that he “can think of nothing more American” than the protests that he said are aimed at drawing attention to African-Americans who are "being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability and without justice." 

His opponent, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzViral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions MORE (R-Texas), released an ad on Monday targeting O'Rourke for the comments.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE has frequently attacked NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, calling for owners to fire them and get them off the field. 

— Julia Manchester