Should Beto O'Rourke run for president in 2020? | The Tylt
Should Beto O'Rourke run for president in 2020?
After months of waffling and somewhat Kerouacian wandering, O'Rourke finally announced his intention to run for president in 2020. In a Vanity Fair cover story, O'Rourke describes his reasons for seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
Beto O’Rourke seems, in this moment, like a cliff diver trying to psych himself into the jump. And after playing coy all afternoon about whether he’ll run, he finally can’t deny the pull of his own gifts. “You can probably tell that I want to run,” he finally confides, smiling. “I do. I think I’d be good at it.”
“This is the fight of our lives,” he continues, “not the fight-of-my-political-life kind of crap.
But, like, this is the fight of our lives as Americans, and as humans, I’d argue.”
The more he talks, the more he likes the sound of what he’s saying. “I want to be in it,” he says, now leaning forward. “Man, I’m just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment.”
Early in primary season, O'Rourke was invited to meet with the Democratic Party in Des Moines, Iowa—one of the most influential local political groups in the country. Iowa holds the country's first contest of the presidential election, and the invitation is seen as an indication the party believes he could win locally. Per Newsweek:
The Democratic Party in Des Moines, where one-third of Iowa’s Democratic voters reside, sent O’Rourke the invitation on Monday, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“We would love to host him,” Polk County Democratic Chairman Sean Bagniewski told the newspaper in a report published Tuesday.
“It’s real. In Iowa, everybody knows the next person that they want to meet, and by far he is the No. 1 person that’s being requested right now—volunteers, elected officials, our membership base,” Bagniewski said. “Everybody right now is asking for Beto.”
A strong showing in Iowa could catapult O'Rourke to success through the rest of the primary season.
Outside Iowa, CNN reports that O'Rourke recently scored a huge win, gaining the support of major Obama donors.
One of the Democratic Party's most prolific fundraisers says he has pledged to raise campaign money for rising political star Beto O'Rourke should the Texas Democrat seek the presidency in 2020.
Chicago financier Louis Susman, who served as finance chairman of John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid and was an early backer of President Barack Obama's White House ambitions in 2008, told CNN in a telephone interview he has met with O'Rourke on a number of occasions and that he is encouraging him to run.
"It's time to pass the torch to a new generation," said Susman, a former US Ambassador to United Kingdom in the Obama administration. "I have nothing against the Bidens and Kerrys of the world and all of these senators that are looking at it, but I think the Beto example is what inspired people and what we are going to need."
However, O'Rourke may not be the perfect candidate many Democrats believe him to be. Per the Daily Dot:
While O’Rourke may be popular, he may not be as outwardly progressive as many Democratic primary voters may want.
The former Senate candidate’s record on the economy and immigration have been called center-left—issues that could become major components of the 2020 election against Trump. However, O’Rourke’s viral moments—such as his defense of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color—could endear him to some primary voters.
...O’Rourke could run into a situation where he is competing for enthusiasm among voters with the likes of Harris–who has shot up in popularity during her first term in office by challenging the Trump administration. He could also be deemed not progressive enough from voters who back 2020-likelies like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt.).
Some believe a centrist Democrat cannot beat back the galvanizing, emotional appeal of Donald Trump. Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig writes that O'Rourke, while progressive for the extremely conservative state of Texas, is not the liberal motivator many people believe him to be.
In the meantime, though, we have the national election to think about, and when it comes to national politics, O’Rourke is plainly uninspiring. As Zaid Jilani pointed out at Current Affairs, O’Rourke’s congressional voting record signals skepticism about progressive priorities. “While the Democratic base is coalescing around single-payer health care and free college, O’Rourke sponsored neither House bill,” Jilani wrote, “During his time in Congress, he never joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” Instead, O’Rourke is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a centrist caucus with Clintonian views on health care, education and trade.
...I wish the Democrats would run a left-populist with sincere, well-attested antipathy toward Wall Street, oil and gas, welfare reform and war, who is willing to fight hard to win Medicare-for-all and drastically reverse our current course on climate change. I would love it if he or she came from Texas, but I would take one from anywhere.
O'Rourke also lacks some of the political skills and experience he would need to be competitive on a national level. Per the Dallas News:
Limited national political experience. Running for president is very hard, and no House member has won the presidency since James Garfield without also holding higher office. His staff's experience is limited; many came from his congressional staff, though others worked in 2016 Clinton or Sanders campaigns.
...His debate skills are still a work in progress. In his 2018 confrontations against Cruz, he sometimes seemed unsure how to deal with aggressive attacks. Debates are one way in which a large field is winnowed.