Former Texas Congressman and failed Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke, put to rest his Presidential campaign. It took him long enough.
There was a time, not too long ago, when Beto O’Rourke was the hottest item in the Democratic party. He might have lost his Senate race to Ted Cruz and had no particular accomplishments up to that point, but he ran an excellent campaign and proved himself to be a tireless fundraiser. Even Lebron James was feeling the Betomania.
Joking aside, Beto losing by less than two percentage points in a state which has not elected a Democratic Senator since 1988 is legitimately impressive—so was the record 80 million dollars he raised in the process. As soon as he lost to Ted Cruz, talk immediately being floating about the possibility of a presidential run.
He announced in March of this year and collected 6 million dollars on his first day, more than Bernie Sanders, along with an unbelievably sycophantic Vanity Fair cover story which compared him to King David and Odysseus. After the announcement, he was third in the polls, behind only Bernie and Joe Biden. A relentless fundraiser who seemed to be able to mobilize young, non-white, and suburban voters and had a chance to turn Texas blue, Beto’s best opponents were a 78 year old socialist crank and someone first elected to the Senate the same year Beto was born—this race was potentially his to lose.
Then reality did a hit-and-run on poor Beto. No longer the hero riding in on his white horse to defeat Ted Cruz and now just one fish swimming in a very large pool of candidates, Beto just wasn’t interesting. Most of the media forgot about him. Those who didn’t were knocking connections to the fossil fuel industry, his vaguely neoliberal economics, or his general lack of accomplishments. He fell to sixth or seventh in the polls, and a series of poor debates did nothing to stem the tide.
Seeing Beto try to salvage his campaign and dwindling support was painful to watch. Taking hits from his left, he apparently thought by tacking left on cultural issues, he could breathe new life into his campaign. In August he “reset” his campaign after the El Paso shooting, taking a new focus on gun control and President Trump, who he said created the environment which led to the shooting. Since then, he’s said that America was founded in 1619 when the first slaves were brought to Virginia, “Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15,” and threatening to remove the tax-exempt status of churches and religious institutions who don’t believe in gay marriage.
The move clearly didn’t work, which is why Beto will end up watching the rest of the race from his couch.
It didn’t have to be this way. Beto didn’t have the age of Biden and Sanders, he was less extreme than Elizabeth Warren, and had better name recognition than Pete Buttigieg. I’m still convinced that had Beto played his cards better early in his campaign and weathered the hits from his left, he could have been the guy in the “moderate” lane should Joe Biden collapse, and the nomination could have been his.
I wanted to like Beto. As someone who is not much for the culture war, as long as Republicans held the Senate, I would be willing to tolerate a more conservative Democrat with a more moderate temperament. Beto fit the bill. I even liked some of Beto’s policy plans, particularly on immigration. But, when you want to shut down my university for disagreeing with you about sexual ethics in an empty attempt to remain relevant, that I cannot tolerate.
Apparently after Beto dropped out, President Trump called him a “poor, pathetic guy.” It is generally in poor taste to kick a man when he’s down, but it’s hard not to agree with the President.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.