That Robert “Beto” O’Rourke is going to run in 2020, while not announced, gets closer and closer to being a reality every day.
Originally, O’Rourke unequivocally denied that he would make a run at the Oval Office against President Donald Trump, but he has now come out and noted that he’s not ruled it out. However, all the clues point to him having already made the decision to do so as he still has millions leftover in his campaign accounts which he has refused to give to other Democrats.
O’Rourke’s popularity comes, in no small part, from his many similarities to former President Barack Obama. Democratic staffers who worked under Obama are also taken by O’Rourke’s Obama-ness, and seem to be ready to pledge themselves to a future campaign should he attempt one according to The Hill, and have lobbed a lot of compliments his way:
“That ability to make people feel invested in his campaign and his story does remind me of Obama ‘08,” said David Litt, who served as a speechwriter in the Obama White House. “You see the crowds and the enthusiasm, the kind of movement that isn’t about me but about us.”
Litt, the author of “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years,” said O’Rourke, like Obama, is the kind of candidate that inspirers staffers to go the extra mile.
“They wanted to put in an extra shift or make a dozen phone calls on his behalf or talk to their neighbors because they really believe in him,” he said. “And even when he came up short, everyone felt like they had achieved something great. There are very few people who can inspire that kind of sentiment.”
Another former Obama aide said O’Rourke, even after losing his Senate bid, has energized the party like no one since the former president.
“The party hasn’t seen this kind of enthusiasm since Obama,” the aide said. “There isn’t one other potential candidate out there that has people buzzing. And that’s exactly why people supported Obama and why they’ll support Beto.”
Dan Pfeiffer, the former senior adviser to Obama who now co-hosts the popular “Pod Save America” podcast, penned a piece for Crooked Media on Monday that made the case for why O’Rourke should run.
“I have never seen a Senate candidate — including Obama in 2004 — inspire the sort of enthusiasm that Beto did in this race,” Pfeiffer said, adding that if O’Rourke were to run, “he would be one of the strongest candidates in the field.”
In short, O’Rourke was just signaled that should he run, he has a well-experienced staff at his disposal.
I’m calling it now, expect O’Rourke to be a 2020 contender, and expect to see another “hope and change” style campaign.