Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 04:19 pm
Beto O’Rourke Emerges as the Wild Card of the 2020 Campaign-in-Waiting


Published December 9, 2018
Quote:
WASHINGTON — The 2020 Democratic presidential primary, already expected to be the party’s most wide open in decades, has been jostled on the eve of many long-plotted campaign announcements by a political threat that few contenders bothered considering until recently:

Will a soon-to-be-former congressman, with an unremarkable legislative record and a Senate campaign loss, upend their best-laid plans?

Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas has emerged as the wild card of the presidential campaign-in-waiting for a Democratic Party that lacks a clear 2020 front-runner. After a star-making turn in his close race against Senator Ted Cruz, Mr. O’Rourke is increasingly serious about a 2020 run — a development that is rousing activists in early-voting states, leading veterans of former President Barack Obama’s political operation (and Mr. Obama himself) to offer their counsel and hampering would-be rivals who are scrambling to lock down influential supporters and strategists as future -campaign staff.

Advisers to other prospective Democratic candidates for 2020 acknowledge that Mr. O’Rourke is worthy of their concern. His record-setting success with small donors would test the grass-roots strength of progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. His sometimes saccharine call to summon the nation’s better angels would compete with the likely pitch of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

And his appeal to some former Obama advisers — and, potentially, his electoral coalition of young people, women and often infrequent voters — could complicate a possible run for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who would aim to win back many of his former boss’s constituencies.

Mr. O’Rourke would surely have vulnerabilities in a primary, including an absence of signature policy feats or a centerpiece issue to date. In his Senate race, he was often disinclined to go negative, frustrating some Democrats who believe he wasted a chance to defeat Mr. Cruz, and he struggled at times in some traditional formats like televised debates. He is, by admission and design, not the political brawler some Democrats might crave against a president they loathe. And his candidacy would not be history-making like Mr. Obama’s nor many of his likely peers’ in the field, in an election when many activists may want a female or nonwhite nominee.

But the fact that Mr. O’Rourke is even considering a run speaks to uncertainty in the Democratic Party, as broad and simmering opposition to President Trump is colliding with crosscurrents of gender, race, ideology and age within its ranks.

With the unceremonious exit of the Clintons, Mr. Obama’s minimal appetite for party politics and the regret in some quarters about the 2016 primary coronation of Hillary Clinton, there are no obvious kingmakers in the party, nor many early calls for establishment intervention in the 2020 primary. As its House-flipping midterm formula made clear, the party now absorbs an array of voters, from ardent socialists to disaffected Republicans, across generational and ideological lines.

And given that some three dozen Democrats are considering presidential campaigns, the primary field could end up so crowded that the vote gets diluted — a phenomenon that helped Mr. Trump edge ahead of the large Republican pack in 2016.

As he and a small team of aides weigh the merits of a campaign, Mr. O’Rourke, 46, has focused largely on whether he could run the kind of race he did in Texas — barnstorming towns with a liberal message and a perpetual social media live-stream, talking up his disdain for pollsters and super PACs and staking his bid on a personal connection with voters as much as any issue platform.

There are several questions Mr. O’Rourke is considering aloud, a person close to him said: Could he build a full-scale national campaign without losing the down-home feel that powered his Senate bid, when fans tracked his 254-county tour of Texas (down to the four-hour drives and late-night burger runs) on a near-constant video feed? Would a hope-and-change chorus find an audience in a primary with other Democrats — and without an easy Republican foil like Mr. Cruz?

Yet Mr. O’Rourke also plainly recognizes two truths about politics in the age of Mr. Trump: Traditional qualifications to lead the country do not necessarily matter much, particularly if a candidate can channel the kind of enthusiasm that Mr. O’Rourke earned in a news media environment that prizes viral moments. And politicians rarely get shinier over time; his best shot at the White House, if recent history is a guide, may be this one.

“Democrats fall in love,” said Gene Martin, a local Democratic chairman in New Hampshire, describing a “pause” in 2020 staffing activity in the state while Mr. O’Rourke makes up his mind. “He would get a king’s welcome.”

At the same time, Mr. O’Rourke’s flirtation is dividing some liberals who wonder if a white man with his résumé and biography is the best fit for this moment, just after the party recaptured the House, in large measure, on the strength of female and nonwhite candidates.

“What is it with a party that gets excited about a guy who loses but tries to undercut somebody who wins?” said Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, describing the opposition among some Democrats to Nancy Pelosi’s continued leadership in the House, despite her presiding over a midterm wave. “Our party is emotional.”

Other Democrats eyeing 2020 have said little about Mr. O’Rourke, as is customary with a possible rival in a race that has not begun. But several of their advisers said Mr. O’Rourke’s popularity with donors and activists was undeniable and could create early momentum in key states, his prospects buoyed by a Trump-level command of social media and a talent for making the generically progressive sound inspirational.

Like Mr. Obama as he entered the 2008 campaign, Mr. O’Rourke can be difficult to place on an ideological spectrum, allowing supporters to project their own politics onto a messaging palette of national unity and common ground — and concerning some activists on the left who worry that voters are valuing the wrong qualities.

“He says a lot of nice things,” said Waleed Shahid, who worked for Mr. Sanders in 2016 and is now communications director for Justice Democrats, a progressive group. “Then you try to remember anything that stood out in terms of policy ideas, and it’s kind of flat.”

In public, Mr. O’Rourke, who declined to be interviewed, has said only that he is not ruling anything out.

Mr. O’Rourke’s Senate campaign was defined as much by high-minded personal connection as any signature issue.

In private, Mr. O’Rourke is doing little to discourage his suitors. When one well-connected Democrat asked Mr. O’Rourke what to tell operatives who hope to work for him, the congressman said to have them contact him on his cellphone, according to a party official directly familiar with the exchange.

In recent weeks, Mr. O’Rourke has spoken with a leading Democratic fund-raiser about the financial demands of a presidential bid. He met with Mr. Obama shortly after the midterms, as The Washington Post first reported. Mr. Obama told Mr. O’Rourke he was impressed with the congressman’s show-up-everywhere Senate run, according to a person familiar with the conversation. The former president has publicly compared this approach to his own.

Mr. O’Rourke’s camp has also been in contact with several members of the extended Obama orbit, and the congressman’s chief of staff and de facto chief strategist, David Wysong, has reached out to a variety of Democratic consultants to ask about how to organize a run.

From his Senate race, Mr. O’Rourke has also already built a 50-state list of supporters that could form the foundation of a sprawling volunteer network.

Jeff Link, a longtime Iowa Democratic strategist, said Mr. O’Rourke’s odometer-pushing campaign style would be a natural fit in a state where politicians crow about touching down in all 99 counties.

“If he comes to Des Moines and does a big event in the evening, he should think about the Knapp Center at Drake as opposed to a party room in a restaurant,” Mr. Link said, referring to a 7,152-seat college basketball arena.

The chief obstacle to a run, according to the person close to Mr. O’Rourke, is family considerations, after two years of taxing travel across his home state. He lives in El Paso with his wife, Amy, and three school-age children.

Mr. O’Rourke, who received broadly positive news coverage as an underdog candidate in 2018, would also face far deeper scrutiny in a national field, renewing attention on episodes like a drunk driving arrest in his 20s, during which he attempted to leave the scene, according to a witness who spoke to the police at the time. (Mr. O’Rourke has denied trying to flee.)

Perhaps more significant to his chances, the ascendant role of nonwhite voters in the party, paired with the backlash to Mr. Trump’s weaponizing of race and gender, has raised doubts among some Democrats that a white male candidate can win the nomination.

And the mere fact that Mr. O’Rourke, and not Stacey Abrams or Andrew Gillum, is the near miss candidate of 2018 who is being beckoned most forcefully toward the White House has bothered some Democrats. They note that Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum came closer to winning their races for governor in Georgia and Florida than Mr. O’Rourke did in his Senate bid.

Why Beto and not the other two?” asked Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina legislator. “I think Andrew and Stacey are equally talented.”

Mr. Sellers questioned whether Mr. O’Rourke could prevail in a nomination contest that will turn heavily on black voters in the South. “I look forward to welcoming Beto to the Brookland Baptist Church,” he said, alluding to a historically black church near Columbia, S.C. “I would love to be there to see if he can clap on beat.”

It has also not gone unnoticed that many of Mr. O’Rourke’s most vocal boosters from Mr. Obama’s circle are men.

Jennifer Palmieri, a former senior aide to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, responded on Twitter this week to a CNN op-ed titled, “Beto-mania doesn’t do justice to women.”

“Legit reasons to love Beto. But worth reflecting on this,” Ms. Palmieri wrote. “I fear intangible sentiments like ‘something about him that’s so inspiring’ can be mirror images of ‘something about her I just don’t like’ & tied to pesky gender bias we have yet to shake.”

Unlike Mr. Obama just before 2008 — a sitting senator for whom no office but the presidency loomed as a plausible next step — Mr. O’Rourke has been urged at times to run again back home. Some Texas Democrats are hoping he tries another Senate race in 2020 or seeks the governorship in 2022. But there are limits to Mr. O’Rourke’s appeal, of course: Mr. Obama performed better in some rural Texas counties in 2012 than Mr. O’Rourke did in 2018.

“I’d love for him to double down on what he just created and build on that,” said Amber Mostyn, a Houston-based donor.

If nothing else, Mr. Sellers suggested, the debate over a white man’s viability in today’s Democratic Party is a sign of the times.

“We’ve gone from people not believing Barack Obama can get the nomination, let alone win the presidency, because a black guy can’t win,” Mr. Sellers said, “to the fact that it’s going to be hard for Beto O’Rourke of El Paso to win.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/us/politics/beto-2020-presidential-race.html
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 04:33 pm
Dem Congressman: As Many as 40 Democrats

Will Run for President.


https://freebeacon.com/politics/dem-congressman-guesses-40-democrats-will-run-for-president/
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 04:37 pm
2020 Democrats:

We’re Thinking About It.


https://freebeacon.com/politics/2020-democrats-were-thinking-about-it/
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  3  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 05:15 pm
I want to add Eric Holder to my original list of five.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 05:43 pm
@Real Music,
Nope. O'Rourke's a decent enough Dem for Texas but not progressive enough for the US (that's the take I'm getting from some local Dems - they find him a really weak progressive candidate).
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 06:20 pm
@ehBeth,
I suggest you check out his views for yourself before taking the word of any self proclaimed arbiters of what qualifies as "progressive enough".
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 07:03 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
Nope. O'Rourke's a decent enough Dem for Texas but not progressive enough for the US (that's the take I'm getting from some local Dems - they find him a really weak progressive candidate).

Beto O’Rourke’s political stances.

https://www.isidewith.com/candidates/beto-orourke-2
snood
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 08:10 pm
@Real Music,
That's a very user friendly list. Simple and to the point.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 08:28 pm
@snood,
I obviously don't vote in the US. I do have a number of friends who are US citizens currently living in Canada who do vote in US elections. Some Democrats, some Republicans. I check in with them occasionally to find out what they're thinking about things. The progressive Democrats aren't happy with the possibility of O'Rourke or someone else without progressive cred leading the party into the next elections.

this is the kind of piece they've offered me as a reference
I read it and can see their concerns - and their frustrations.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/12/what-does-beto-orourke-actually-stand-for

some excerpts

Quote:
There is no doubt that O’Rourke is a talented politician. His $60 million haul, much of it from small donors, came from extremely aggressive campaigning all over the state of Texas, alongside a national donor base cultivated by signaling to culturally liberal activists. But a talented politician is not necessarily someone who has talent in governing. So what was Congressman O’Rourke like?

In his six years in Congress, O’Rourke passed three bills. Two were related to veterans issues, the third renamed a federal building and courthouse. Of course, O’Rourke was in a GOP-dominated House, which would limit his effectiveness. But part of being effective as a Member of Congress is learning to deal with the environment you are in. Between 1995 and 2007, when the Republicans solidly held the House of Representatives, the lawmaker who passed the most amendments was not a far-right Republican but instead Vermont’s independent democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, dubbed an “amendment king.” The firebrand Florida Democrat Alan Grayson was similarly effective at writing and passing legislation.

But even if you’re not passing bills or amendments, you can chair investigations and help uncover important information that changes the debate in Washington. You can earn media appearances and become a leader on major issues. You can help move legislation that isn’t going to pass anytime soon, but set it up for the future.

O’Rourke was missing in action on virtually all of these areas, and rarely challenged concentrated power in D.C.—except during his initial run for Congress, in which he unseated a conservative Democrat Silvestre Reyes. Reyes was a proponent of America’s drug war while O’Rourke favored legalizing marijuana to cut into the cartels’ power. Reyes ran dirty campaign ads claiming O’Rourke was encouraging drug use among children. It didn’t work, and O’Rourke’s smart campaign was victorious.

But it may have been the last time O’Rourke waged a sustained campaign against the Democratic establishment. While the Democratic base is coalescing around single-payer health care and free college, O’Rourke sponsored neither House bill. During his time in Congress, he never joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He has been, however, a member of the New Democratic Caucus, the group organized to carry on the ideas of Clintonite policies. During the 2016 presidential primary, he stayed on the sidelines.

If you’re not familiar with O’Rourke’s district, you might chalk this all up to representing a conservative region. It’s Texas, right? Our system is a representative democracy with single member districts, and lawmakers must represent politically diverse constituencies. Otherwise, they risk being thrown out. But Texas’s 16th Congressional District is among the more liberal in the country. In 2016, O’Rourke netted 85 percent of the vote, while a Libertarian grabbed 10 percent and a Green received 4 percent. There was no Republican candidate. To be fair to O’Rourke, the 2014 election, a terrible year nationwide for Democrats, was more risky for the congressman—that year he received only 67.5 percent of the vote.

While O’Rourke steadily avoided left-wing legislation, he went above and beyond to ally himself to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. In 2015, Congress narrowly gave President Obama so-called “Fast Track” authority as it related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This essentially greased the skids for Obama to accept and implement this agreement, which many labor, consumer, human rights, and environmental advocates worried would vastly expand the power of investors and corporations and undermine U.S. sovereignty. The 219 to 211 vote in the House sent shockwaves through this community, and a foreboding sense that the TPP would become a reality (at that point, no one expected Donald J. Trump to be the President soon and deep six the TPP, but politics got really weird over the next few years).

O’Rourke was one of the Democrats who voted to grant the authority to Obama.


Quote:
We can learn a lot about why O’Rourke doesn’t challenge the powerful by looking at the one time he did, briefly. In the summer of 2014, the Israeli military and militants in Gaza were engaged in prolonged warfare. Almost all of the suffering was falling on the Palestinians, whose small arms and improvised rockets were no match for the modern might of the Israeli army. This might is subsidized by the American taxpayer, who delivers billions of dollars of aid to Israel on an annual basis.

During the conflict, Congress voted to provide funds to re-supply Israel’s Iron Dome system, which helps protect it against projectile attacks. But there is no reason why Israel itself cannot provide the funds to protect its citizenry during conflicts that keep occurring partly because it refuses to respect the human rights of Palestinians—and America stepping in to pick up the tab essentially shields Israelis from one of the financial costs of maintaining their occupation.

O’Rourke was one of eight Members of Congress to oppose the Iron Dome funding, a group that was equally split along bipartisan lines. “I could not in good conscience vote for borrowing $225 million more to send to Israel, without debate and without discussion, in the midst of a war that has cost more than a thousand civilian lives already, too many of them children,” he wrote defending his vote. It was a defiant act, and for once, Congressman O’Rourke was willing to stand almost alone in the face of a powerful political force, America’s pro-Israel lobby.

But that bravery did not last long. Pro-Israel activists, including one of O’Rourke’s top donors, denounced him in the local press. Others reached out to him privately to encourage him to return to the pro-Israel consensus. And he returned quickly. He enthusiastically voted for all future aid to Israel, and courted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).


Quote:
O’Rourke’s Senate candidacy was the ultimate psychological elephant. He was well-spoken, optimistic, good-looking, and he was quick to endorse cultural memes important to the national liberal base. His eloquent defense of kneeling NFL players was an instance of him diving headfirst into a symbolic culture war controversy, ticking off all the boxes contemporary liberals look for: embrace of diversity, condemnation of racism, and describing the sins of the nation.

It’s wasn’t surprising that Ted Cruz quickly took O’Rourke’s position and used it to motivate his own base. Both sides had much to gain from rallying for something that is ultimately symbolic and emotional: Kneeling on a football field doesn’t necessarily reform the criminal justice system, and standing tall for the national anthem doesn’t necessarily do anything for the men and women of the armed forces. But both sides passionately and emotionally believed they were contributing to those causes.

Which perhaps is the best analogy for O’Rourke’s sudden popularity. He has ticked the right emotional boxes for liberals, and they feel like by supporting him they are projecting an image of a younger, more optimistic, and more progressive America. But nothing in O’Rourke’s short and uneventful political career suggests that he suddenly has the qualifications to oversee a nuclear arsenal, conduct diplomacy with friends and enemies, appoint the next head of the U.S. Treasury, or manage the disaster response of a national emergency.

The next president should be someone with a record of sticking their neck out against concentrated power, someone who has made tough decisions even when it may anger donors and political elites, and someone who has accomplished a great deal of actual tangible real change in the world. There are number of people who fit that description, but it’s difficult to say O’Rourke is one of them.



I'm a social media fan of O'Rourke - have been following him on twitter for quite a while. I would have been thrilled if he'd beaten Cruz.

That doesn't mean I won't consider the concerns progressive Democrats have.

from the comments when my pal shared the article


Quote:
I knew I wouldn't be supporting him in the primary but I didn't know he was this bad.



Quote:
"We won't get fooled again!" (Y/N?)



Quote:
He’s categorically better than Ted Cruz, so I get some of the mania he inspired, and I appreciate that he was in some some punk band and knows his way around a skateboard (though I generally hate skateboarding... damn kids...) but I just don’t want him to become the next great mealy centrist hope of the party. The evolution of his statements on healthcare were the most disturbing to me. Clinton talked about a “right to affordable healthcare.” What is that? I’m pretty sure I know what it means, and that’s nothing at all.


edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 08:38 pm
@ehBeth,
They don't necessarily have to be totally progressive, but progressives do expect them to be uncorrupted by big money and be in favor of universal health care.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 08:40 pm
@edgarblythe,
It all depends on who you are talking to. E and his friends are early 30's and they want smart progressives who walk the talk.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2018 08:49 pm
@ehBeth,
They insist on it today, but somebody uncorrupted who espouses enough of a progressive bent, though imperfect, would get their vote. At least that's my belief.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  4  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2018 12:54 am
@snood,
It looks like there may be a large number of democrats running for the 2020 nomination. At the present time, it doesn't appear that there is any one candidate who is far and above everyone else. At the moment the field is wide open. Anyone who wishes to win the nomination is going to have to earn it. I currently have my own personal preferences. My preferences could also change between now and 2020. I will fully support and vote democrat for president, no matter who wins the nomination.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2018 02:34 am
Julián Castro Is Headed to Iowa,

but He Thinks the Path to the White House Runs Through the Southwest.


https://theintercept.com/2018/06/08/julian-castro-2020-presidential-election/
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2018 03:49 am
@Real Music,
How does one EARN the nomination, in your view?
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2018 10:10 pm
@snood,
Quote:
How does one EARN the nomination, in your view?

What I mean is no candidate should assume that it is their turn to be the next nominee. Hillary Clinton had lost the nomination to Barack Obama because Barack Obama, his supporters, and his organization put in the work to defeat Clinton in the primary. Obama had a better 50 state strategy for the primaries. Obama was a better debater. Obama came off as being more authentic. Obama had more charisma. Obama was more skilled in connecting with people. Obama had a better ground game. Obama had a better fund raising organization, especially with small donors. The primaries is basically a dry run or a practice run for the general election. The nomination wasn't handed to Barack Obama. Barack Obama earned the nomination. It is important that the early front runners don't expect the nomination to be handed to them. They have to earn it. They have to put in the work. Bernie Sanders have to earn it. Elizabeth Warren have to earn it. Beto O' Rourke have to earn it. Joe Biden have to earn it. It isn't anybody's turn. It has to be earned.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2018 06:56 am
@Real Music,
Unless (god forbid) Hillary runs, I don't see anyone else on the Democratic side with that kind of sense of entitlement or expectation of being coronated as heir apparent to the nomination. I don't see anyone who needs to be told they are going to have to work, to campaign - to earn it as you say.
snood
 
  3  
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2018 03:30 pm
About Julian Castro announcing his intention to run, let me just say...
Ah, no.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2018 06:27 pm
@snood,
Ditto Tulsi Gabbard
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  4  
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2018 09:28 pm
@snood,
Quote:
Unless (god forbid) Hillary runs, I don't see anyone else on the Democratic side with that kind of sense of entitlement or expectation of being coronated as heir apparent to the nomination. I don't see anyone who needs to be told they are going to have to work, to campaign - to earn it as you say.

Yes, I agree with you that there is no one currently running as if he or she is the heir apparent or coronated candidate.
I hope it stays that way, because each candidate needs to roll up their sleeves and get out there and earn the nomination.
0 Replies
 
 

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