Dallas businessman Dr. David Alameel takes on incumbent Sen. John Cornyn and ‘the establishment’ in both parties
Dallas businessman and dentist David Alameel is no stranger to Texas politics. He has donated to both Democrats and Republicans and in 2012 ran for the Democratic nomination for a new congressional seat. After he came in fourth in primary, he didn’t just have misgivings about Sen. Cornyn but about both parties. Alameel recently sat down with the Dallas Voice to discuss his campaign.
Dallas Voice: Your opponent, incumbent Republican Senator Cornyn was seen as vulnerable to a far-right candidate. But he clobbered his multiple opponents in the March primary. Now analysts say he’s a shoo-in for re-election. So if you’re not a threat, why run? Dr. David Alameel: Of course I pose a threat. Otherwise he wouldn’t send trackers to follow me around the state. He’s nervous because someone is finally putting him to task.
He’s in it for himself. Wall Street pretty much bought him out. He basically works for Wall Street and is part of the bipartisan coalition pushing policies that help big corporations. He is part of the destruction of the American Dream. I refuse to accept that. I want to expose people like him, “the establishment.”
About 10 years ago you and your wife gave a substantial amount of money to Sen. Cornyn’s campaign. What changed? I wasn’t that political then. I cared more about issues and not races. I saw the differences when I worked on foreign policy issues with nonprofits as far back as a decade. The Democrats and Republicans diverged on immigration. I saw racism flourishing in the GOP. The 2008 financial crisis changed me though. As of then I have not dealt with the GOP. They’ve gone over the deep end. They thrive on attacking groups. Discrimination sickens me. It is totally against my beliefs.
But those beliefs run counter to many Texans on LGBT issues. For example, if you were elected to the Senate you would serve alongside vocal LGBT opponent Sen. Ted Cruz. The Republican Party has been pushed so far right they can’t do anything even if they know it is wrong. But I’m willing to debate him on these issues because I support the LGBT community. When I get to the Senate, I’ll support them with whatever they ask. Politicians should not be playing political football. The GOP is unnecessarily setting up obstacles and attacking them. They are wrong. From a religious and constitutional interpretation the LGBT community shouldn’t face any obstacles. It’s not a talking point. I don’t dodge it. I just don’t talk about it because I want people to know about the destruction of the greatest economy on Earth.
Were you raised among LGBT people? I’m 62 and was born in Israel. If I grew up with LGBT people no one said anything. I have gay friends. My kids have LGBT friends whom I cherish. I’ll be in their weddings. I don’t judge people whether they are white, brown, straight or bisexual. I judge them by how good of friends they are to my kids. I didn’t discriminate with my employees. I will never forget telling the LGBT group in Houston that I support same-sex marriage.
Polls show that people’s views about the LGBT community change when they meet a LGBT person. If you didn’t have that experience, then what shaped your views? I was raised Catholic in a tight family. Compassion is the Christian — and human — thing to do. If you can’t extend love to your family you can’t extend it to others. It’s not up to us to go around and say some citizens are worth more than others. God judges by one’s character and deeds. I don’t think it’s good character to discriminate. I believe LGBT community members were born that way. Studies prove it. If God said we are born that way, who are we to judge?
You said Senator Cornyn is “the establishment,” and “the establishment” is the problem. Did you have a different experience growing up? I succeeded but in a different time. I don’t see my family, friends and the American public succeeding. Today I’d be poor and working in a gas station. We have kids graduating with enormous debt, moving back in with their parents and getting service industry jobs. Cornyn says we can’t afford Social Security or Medicare. They’re programs that contribute to good middle class lives. When he makes a deal about social issues, he just wants people to turn a blind eye to the fact that he invested in companies that do business in China and then send jobs there. It’s elected officials like him who are making us into an indebted third world country. Right now that’s America.
What are the biggest issues facing Texans though? It’s not all Wall Street down here. We need to reform the tax code. Big corporate handouts are anti-American. Outsourcing is anti-American. It’s not too much to ask for the greatest country on Earth for our citizens. When you ask anyone what matters they say their children’s future. He fails on education.
We also need to become energy independent. I support energy initiatives of all kinds. We need solar and wind. But the most important energy source around today is oil and gas. If Texas could produce more oil and gas than most other countries combined, we could export it. We could possibly double our economy alone. It’s also a national security issue because of wars. The wars are all about access to energy. Today we have wars going on that are all about oil and gas. We have wars going on just where the pipeline might go.
Those resources also are a boon to our defense industry, another major employer in Texas. Just because I don’t want to go war for oil doesn’t mean I don’t want a strong military. I want the United States to have the best military in world so we can protect us, not to start wars so we can go bomb places and remake them. We are the guidepost of world; without us there would be chaos.
But haven’t we contributed to that chaos? What has influenced your foreign policy? I chaired the Lebanese American League in the 1980s and 1990s. We lobbied on causes related to Middle East. I see the same problems now. Iraq is back to its old habits. Whenever you give them a majority anywhere they start persecuting anyone who is not Muslim. Since I was 16 I’ve been aware of the dangers facing non-Muslims, like the Jews and Christians in the Middle East. We are facing that threat today with jihadists like al-Qaeda and ISIS. In last 50 years Islam has been radicalized. During Russia’s war in Afghanistan, we built up al-Qaeda. They were our allies during that war. We seem to train and arm the wrong people. We could have avoided where we are today if we responded before we reacted to events. ISIS didn’t come from anywhere. We are not good at forming clear policy that is long term and protect interests.
Of current sitting senators, whom do you admire? I have two. The one I follow the most is Elizabeth Warren. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, too. When I first started witnessing the destruction of American Dream, no one else actually wanted to touch it. It bothers me when Democrats take office and nothing changes. Some of the worst policies were done in a Democratic majority, like bad free trade and deregulating Wall Street.
This is your second run for office. In 2012 you ran for a newly-created congressional district currently held by Rep. Marc Veasey. What did you learn? Elitists rule the Democratic Party, too. I learned the Democrats do the same as the Republicans. Their agenda is not the same agenda that real Democratic voters have. They support fluff while people starve. Up in the higher powers they don’t want to be challenged or shaken up.
You’re not receiving much help from the Texas Democratic Party or Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, I imagine. I wasn’t getting help from them in 2012 and I’m not now. They want to show I can win with my own money. Both parties are now so full of it! I’m not running in a popularity contests. I won’t be a creature of D.C. I’ve done it all. I’m happy. I have my money. I’m not scared.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 19, 2014.