It was inevitable, I suppose. This dude was showered with so much media slobber for his Texas campaign that he finally convinced himself he won that race.
It’s as if Stacey Abrams’s delusion somehow became infectious and Beto caught it from her. Soon Bernie’s going to start insisting that he was the rightful Democratic Party nominee for president in 2016.
Which, you know, he sort of was.
In an alternate universe Trump and Mexico were unable to reach a deal ramping up immigration enforcement last week. That means the new tariffs are now in effect, Texans are enraged at the economic fallout, and John Cornyn is suddenly panicking about his reelection prospects next year. Which in turn means Beto is suddenly thinking very hard about pulling the plug on his failing presidential campaign and diving into the Texas Senate race instead. Some liberals are leaning on him to do that anyway even though Cornyn dodged the tariff bullet:
It may be too late for O’Rourke to run for Senate. Another impressive Democrat, M.J. Hegar, has already announced that she is running against Cornyn. But I think Democratic voters in Texas are right to be putting such a high priority on the Senate. Winning the White House isn’t enough for the party to make the changes its presidential candidates are promising.
“Even if Democrats manage to retake the White House, a Senate majority stands between them and the ability to pursue any real legislative agenda and, crucially, the ability to confirm nominees to the Supreme Court and other important positions,” Vox’s Tara Golshan and Ella Nilsen wrote this week, summarizing the Senate races. “Without the Senate, Democrats’ ideas will remain pipe dreams.”
Quinnipiac recently polled Texas Democrats on whether they want Beto to keep going with his presidential bid or pull the plug and take on Cornyn. Result:
Beto initially declined to challenge Cornyn for two reasons. One: Cornyn isn’t as disliked by the left as Cruz was so he’d be tougher to beat, especially with Republican turnout in Texas likely to be high next year for a presidential election. Two, relatedly: If O’Rourke had lost two Senate races in the span of two years, he’d be seen as damaged goods and any chances of a presidential run later would fade. He’d have nowhere to go politically, having already held a House seat, failed in running for Senate against both Republican incumbents, and enjoying no chance realistically of defeating a Republican for governor. He’d be stuck running for mayor of El Paso or something and then biding his time, hoping the state continues to turn purpler over the next 10 years so that he’d have another shot at statewide office.
As it is, though, he’s tried running for president and found demand far weaker than he hoped, at least unless and until he wins a Senate seat. He can end his campaign early this fall knowing that his path to national office runs through a successful statewide run in Texas after all. The hype from his near-miss against Cruz just wasn’t enough to make him viable as a presidential nominee, at least not in a year when 20+ candidates are running and the left is enamored of more stalwart progressives.
Beto O'Rourke on IA poll that has him at 2%: "There is a lot of time before the IA Caucus. We've never been guided by a poll before. If you were to look at the Texas Senate race the first couple of months after we were in, no poll was going to say that we were going to win that." pic.twitter.com/g2FNG7kacS
— The Hill (@thehill) June 10, 2019