Beto O’Rourke Feels Like Running for President


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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38 Responses

  1. Avatar Philip H says:

    I like Beto on policy. I want him to succeed. But when, Oh When will the Democratic Party stop its obsessive focus on ONLY the White House and play a long game for state houses, Senate Seats, and Congress? There are half a dozen Democrats who would make the Senate a really progressive, liberal place – and almost all of them are already Senators. Chuck Schumer needs to go as Senate Democratic leader – but all his best replacements are running for President. Beto could actually unseat the other Texas Senator, or even make a credible run at governor. And 8 years as a progressive executive of an evolving state like Texas would be a really good way to prove he deserves the WH.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Philip H says:

      So much this. If Beto could grab the Governors mansion in Texas then the wheels would quite possibly start coming off the Republican electoral machine.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        Texas is turning purple but not that quickly. He is probably correct that his best chance more political success is in running for the Presidency (or gunning for Veep) instead of trying for another state-wide race in Texas. The thing about Ted Cruz is that there is a lot of evidence is colleagues hate him but not much evidence that voters on the street do unless they were primed not to vote Republican anyway.

        Beto carried a lot of Democrats on his coattails in Texas even as he lost. He should get credit for that!

        Also Democrats have been doing better in the statehouse races since Trump won but like the Senate, a lot of statehouses are really gerrymandered for the Republicans. Democrats won huge percentages of the vote in MI and WI but the GOP retained their super-majorities or near super-majorities because of gerrymanderingReport

        • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Well in your second paragraph ya contradicted your first Saul me lad. I still think Beto would be better off shooting for Corbyn’s seat or the Governors mansion and if he did then republicans would need to start worrying more about Texas which would be absolutely catastrophic for them electorally. Even if they could hold onto it if they had to start spending money and time there it’d be a serious problem for the GOP. It’d be like if California and New York suddenly started trending purple.Report

          • Avatar Zac Black in reply to North says:

            “I still think Beto would be better off shooting for Corbyn’s seat”

            I could be mistaken, but I believe as an American citizen he’s prohibited from running for Parliament.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

      I agree on all three counts. Dems will continue to lose (or massively struggle) as long as they locate their policy platform exclusively at the level of national policy. Schumer’s the worst, gotta go. And Beto’s effort to become America’s first hand-crafted, artisanal president is insulting to me. I think he’s fallen for the grift, myself.Report

    • Cornyn is more popular than Cruz in TX, so I very much doubt Beto, or anyone else, is unseating him anytime soon.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Philip H says:

      Over the last 30 years I have watched the slow but steady “bluing” of the 13 western states of the US — governors, state legislative chambers, Congressional delegations, EC votes. I have often said that it has happened despite the national Democratic Party, not because of it.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Agreed. Doug Jones purpled Alabama despite – not because of – the Democratic Party nationally.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Philip H says:

          I would like to offer up a luke warm defense of the national Democratic Party; Doug Jones purpled Alabama and the national Democratic party let him have the room and resources to do it. Same with Connor Lamb. It’s not like the Dems went into those races forcing Jones or Lamb to the left and forcing them to lose.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Great analysis. Basically Beto is exactly what primaries are for. If there’s anything of substance and capability beneath his Hope and Change exterior it’ll be revealed in the coming dogfight. If Beto survives, finesses or thrives in it then he’ll most likely be capable of mopping the floor with Trump. Holy agnostic Jesus, wouldn’t it be gratifying to force the great orange dope to defend Texas?!
    But my money is that he’s running for a Vice Presidential nod at most. I just don’t see any there there.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to North says:

      Do you think the primaries really allow substance and capability to rise to the top? They seem to me to be more a filter for perceived electability. Sure, someone can come off as an empty suit, but what hurts him is not his shallowness, but that his shallowness would hurt his electability. Likewise, running a successful primary campaign demonstrates capability, but it’s that candidate’s capability to run a successful general campaign that’s being looked for.

      I don’t know. I could be wrong on this. I might be falling victim to nostalgia, but I get the sense that people are decreasingly likely to look at the winner of their party’s primary and say “we did good”.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Pinky says:

        I think you are waxing nostalgic. Negative stories are preferred by the media, which likes drama, and negative voices carry further than positive ones. So when Obama beat Hillary in 08 the dominant narrative was “PUMAs going to destroy Obama’s chances!? Democratic Party lurching to the left?”
        Do you remember a past nomination that ended with everyone being celebratory?

        As to the first question? Substance rising to the top? I don’t know about that but capability to take attacks and either endure them or respond effectively? To run a grueling campaign? To deal with hordes of people? To basically do the politicking stuff? Yes I do think primaries test those things and they desperately need to.
        So do I think a primary allows substance and capability to rise to the top? I wouldn’t go that far but I do think a primary allows those who have the capability to appear substantial to rise to the top at least and that ain’t nothing.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

        “I get the sense that people are decreasingly likely to look at the winner of their party’s primary and say “we did good””

        Um, which people? Because about 90% of the Republican party did indeed looked at the winner of their primary and said “We did good.”Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Err ftr my comment was directly exclusively at the Democratic side of the aisle. The Republican primaries are fascinating to watch but I do not have the ability to put myself into their voters headspaces.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Not at the end of the primaries. There may be a little intoxication that comes from seeing a person win state after state, imagining they’ll do the same thing in the general. And the day of the general election, there are (ideally) a lot of people who really believe that their candidate is better than the other party’s.

          You’re right, though, that there is currently a phenomenon of Only Trumpers.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

            Its also worth remembering that Mr. Trump “won” the nomination by pluralities not outright majorities. Its another lesson that Democrats seem to be ignoring – a large field necessitates a savage winnowing or you end up with someone you don’t really like representing your party. Republicans could have saved themselves Trump if they had done some behind the scenes work to narrow the field after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. If they had gotten down to 4 or 5 quickly Mr. trump would probably be starting another season of celebrity apprentice.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Philip H says:

              Yes that is a salient point and a real danger. I think it’s way to early yet to get very concerned about the matter. A lot will depend on how first few primaries and caucuses go. Frankly I suspect a lot of the candidates will drop out.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

              What makes you think Republicans, who consistently support Trump at 90% rates, WANT to be saved from Trump?

              They like him- they really, really LIKE HIM!Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                @Chip Daniels – yes, they do now. I was simply saying that had they not had 16 people starting off their 2016 campaign season they might not have won because, again, he got the nomination on a series of pluralities not a majority. Afterwards the Republican powers that be discovered he’d back their preferred policy approaches.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Trump’s a complete asshole.”

                “He may be an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”

                “No, you don’t understand. He had me at asshole.”Report

  3. Avatar Tracy Downey says:

    Great piece, Andrew. I think O’Rourke entering this race takes away Sanders’ support from millennials, and I’m beginning to feel all these candidates aside from five are running for VP not president.
    The selfie generation seem to want another self made rockstar to run for president instead of looking toward one’s record. Truthfully, what has O’Rourke accomplished in Congress that qualifies him for the WH?

    Why this hurts Sanders. He had the youth vote all geared to vote because he promised free things. This time, you have a Tony Hawk wanna be named Robert Francis, that connects with youth.

    I predict once Biden enters the race, along with O’Rourke, Sanders becomes desperate to maintain.

    Warren is out she cannot police her own mouth.

    Gillibrand too.
    Harris I’m undecided but her being from California doesn’t help her in purple states.

    If Klobuchar can rise above the bad boss stereotypes maybe a VP pick for Biden.

    Biden’s tone and tenure will determine everything in this primary.

    Sanders will be here in Vegas this weekend- Henderson, of course. Now I’m no fan of Sanders but I am curious what the head count will be and I do know a few ppl who plan to attend. So I may bite the bullet just to report on the mood.🤔Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Tracy Downey says:

      Biden needs to sit down. His policy and history is not really progressive, though he seems to learn better then most. But old white guys are not the future of the Democratic Party or progressive politics generally.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Philip H says:

        I like ol Joe as a person and a politician but the idea of him being the candidate this year makes my hair stand on end. He’s too gaffe prone and he’s got a lot of videos of him being rather awkwardly handsy with people. Also he’s really old. I mean if it was a choice between him and Bernie I’d be with Joe all the way but we have a LOT of other candidates.Report

  4. Avatar J_A says:

    As somebody who had the opportunity to vote for Beto, I ‘m glad he’s running. I think he brings a lot of things of the table in terms of electability, both in the primaries and in the general.

    Beto is a cis, white, straight man -thus, he doesn’t trigger *cough*slightly bigoted*cough* voters that would be reluctant to vote for a woman or a minority.

    At the same time, Beto, growing up as a minority white in a majority Hispanic environment, has fully -and honestly, which is important- embraced the multiethnic/diversity aspect of America. True , he’s embraced far more the Hispanic rather than the black aspects of it, but I think black voters will appreciate his honesty and won’t resent him for that.

    Beto is young. I’m frustrated that Democrats have difficulties finding young candidates. As much as I like both Biden and Warren, I don’t want anyone near 70 running for President.

    Beto is not from the Northeast, or California, or Chicago. He comes from a Red (purple) state, and will be much more competitive in the Western states. Relatedly, he’s from El Paso, a weird place that straddles the urban/rural divide, a mid-sized city surrounded by hundreds of miles or purely rural areas.

    I hope I get the chance to vote for him again (Do I sound like Obamagirl)?Report

  5. I was thinking about this last night and … much as I like dunking on Beto, I don’t think anyone should sleep on him. Ted Cruz won his first election by 16 points. As an incumbent he almost lost. In a state that doesn’t really go with the flow of national politics.

    For the Democrats to win in 2020, it won’t be enough to win the blue states. They need to tip some states that voted for Trump in 2016. And that is *not* a given, no matter what the polls are saying right now. What candidate can tip those states blue? Sanders? Right. Harris? Don’t make me laugh? Warren. No way.

    Only three candidates in the field so far show that potential: Biden, Klobuchar and Beto. If Beto were to flip Texas in 2020, the election would be OVER. No Republican can win without Texas, period.

    So we’ll see how things go. But I’m going to take Beto seriously, silly Vanity Fair profile and all.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Welp, that’s that (Content Warning: Serial killer fiction.)

    Beto was, apparently, Phone Phreak-adjacent in his misspent youth. That’s not the problem. The problem is that, at age 15, he wrote a short story about a serial killer from the serial killer’s POV.

    Parents: if you want your kids to be politicians, don’t let them on the internet.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Apparently, his handles were “Apache Dreamsac” and “Psychedelic Warlord”.Report

      • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Jaybird says:

        Is it weird that this kinda makes me like him more? It makes him seem more like a real person and less like a haircut with a platform.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Zac Black says:

          No, it’s like when he was in a prog rock band and he was wearing a sheep mask (a la Peter Gabriel’s Foxtrot phase, if I’m not mistaken) and people made jokes about him being a furry.

          He strikes me as a guy that you could sit down and talk about hacking BBSes and back when Genesis was good.

          It does make him more likable.

          To people like me.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

      Ain’t that the truth. I forget which of the big multi-person games it was that my son played in high school and some of college. But he’s 35 now, and his girlfriend was telling me recently that they were out with a group and were chatting about handles and nicknames and one of the people suddenly blurted out, “Wait! You were Roscoe the Midget?”Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

      I feel like the twitter conversation about this is reaching new highs in levels of bots talking to each other.

      But that could just be my generalized skepticism talking.Report

      • Avatar Tracy Downey in reply to Maribou says:

        I’m so grateful that I chose to give up judgmental media to cleanse my soul. I’m really conflicted with how I come across on Twitter. Therefore the snarking and mocking of people I just don’t want to go there. It reminds me of junior high and insecurity clique central. I’m not a Beto supporter but I have no earthly desire to pick him apart just to excuse the useful idiot in office.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Beto was seen as a big deal not because he was a big deal, but because of whom he was running against.

    I expect that he will be treated rather poorly in the coming weeks/months by the same people who championed him. Not because he deserves to be treated poorly, but because of whom he will be running against.Report