FILE – In this June 22, 2018, file photo, Beto O’Rourke speaks during the general session at the Texas Democratic Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and the ex-punk rocker turned Democratic congressman trying to upset him, O’Rourke, don’t agree on much. But both introduced bills prohibiting U.S. authorities from separating children from parents charged with crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally prior to President Donald Trump’s executive order last week doing much the same thing(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez, File)
In 2008, one of the things that made me really begin my transition from liberal college kid to conservative was the fact that everyone I knew was fawning over Barack Obama for reasons they could not explain.
He looked young, hip, and… not like the other guys we usually get running for and winning the presidency. But, what really made him so appealing is that he could make himself appealing to any group he spoke to. He was extremely versatile, which paired very well with his appearance to a Democratic and moderate base looking for something new.
There have been a few Democrats who have tried to accomplish the same thing. The most recent incarnation is Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke.
Much like Obama, O’Rourke has become a rockstar. The media is obsessed with him, churning out a number of fawning features and stories about him in an attempt to make him the Next Big Thing. The problem with Beto is that he cannot hide how liberal he is, and he is running for a statewide office in Texas.
Because of all this coverage, you would think that this Next Big Thing has a shot… until you look at the poll numbers.
If you look at the RealClearPolitics page for the Cruz/O’Rourke race, you’ll see that the media’s fawning isn’t doing a thing for Beto. Cruz is averaging seven points ahead, and there is no poll in this race that has ever had Beto in the lead. The closest poll was by Emerson, giving Cruz a +1 advantage in late August, and that result is more or less an outlier compared to the rest.
So, the question is this: What on earth made anyone thing Beto could win? What could possibly have changed between the ill-fated Wendy Davis gubernatorial run and this one?
Apparently, Donald Trump and the Hispanic vote were going to make all the difference. At least, that’s apparently what national Democrats thought. So, a ton of money has poured into the race, and Beto currently has nothing to show for it, other than maybe a 2020 or 2024 national platform.
He is a beloved figure among rich, white liberals who think a name change to “Beto” and Donald Trump’s popularity are all it will take to defeat Ted Cruz. But, white liberals are not the sole base you need in order to win Texas. You need the Hispanic vote, and O’Rourke is struggling to get any of it.
Now, I’ll give you that his district currently encompasses El Paso, so he’s not completely deaf to Hispanic community issues, but there are a host of other things he’s avoided at all costs that would only serve to get them behind his campaign.
Just a couple days ago, Beto held a concert in the Rio Grande Valley (of course; he’s a celebrity!). However, news coverage doesn’t indicate that while there, he bothered to weigh in on drought conditions that have been mounting in the area. Oops— that seems like an easy, missed opportunity.
It doesn’t look like he’s said much, if anything, about the Texas State Board of Education slow-walking a long-proposed expansion of access to Mexican-American studies courses in Texas high schools.
He definitely hasn’t weighed in on a proposed dump to house toxic waste from Mexico in Laredo that members of the local Hispanic community are freaking out about because, hey, whether because of the way the wind blows or the fact that the dump would be built in a floodplain, the residents could end up being exposed to a bunch of toxic pollution.
About all Beto said about President Trump’s proposal to send the National Guard to the border was this tweet.
These are some of the kinds of things that, if he made a push on them, might actually get Hispanics onto his side and encourage them to turn out and vote for him. But instead, Beto is spending time skateboarding and doing CNN town halls.
And it’s why he’s going to lose in November, no matter how much mainstream media hype you’ll hear about him between now and then.