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Beto O’Rourke Could Be the First Candidate for U.S. Senate to Reference The Clash in a Debate

Beto O’Rourke might just be the coolest candidate in U.S. Senate history. It’s a well-known fact that he grew up playing in punk bands with At The Drive-In’s Cedric Brixler-Zavala, and he also jammed with Willie Nelson at the songwriter’s annual Fourth of July picnic this year in Austin. Now as Splinter points out, the Texas democrat snuck in a reference to The Clash’s 1979 song “Clampdown” in a debate Friday night with Senator Ted Cruz. What can’t he do?

“I want to make sure that, again, we’re not giving away to corporations or special interests,” O’Rourke said. “That’s what Senator Cruz would do thanks to the contributions that he’s received from those political action committees. He’s working for the clampdown and the corporations and the special interests. He’s not working for the people of Texas.”

Taken from the band’s infamous 1979 album London Calling, “Clampdown” makes reference to police crackdowns against protesters throughout the 1970s and has become anti-capitalist anthem in the punk canon. In an interview last month with Rolling Stone, O’Rourke said he fell in love with punk music after hearing London Calling—which he calls “a revelation”—for the first time when he was in the eighth grade.

O’Rourke’s reference to the song has been gaining buzz with Clash fans Texas democrats alike on social media, quite possibly making him the first U.S. Senate candidate to reference The Clash in a debate. Watch a clip of the debate below and revisit our interview with O’Rourke here.