Is it time to stick a fork in Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign? Not quite, if we are to believe the people trying desperately to revive it. They aren’t done yet.
Beto was in eastern Iowa checking out the flood damage in the state when he was asked about doing something that many of his Democrat primary opponents won’t do – would he do a town hall on Fox News Channel? He answered in the affirmative and actually delivered a reasonable response. He said he’s “very open to doing that”.
“Absolutely,” O’Rourke said when asked about his willingness to appear on Fox. “This campaign is about going to where people are, and you see that physically in where I show up. But it also has to be in those channels or those social media streams where people get their news and their information. That also includes Fox.”
Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Beto captured the imagination of Texas Democrats when he ran against Senator Ted Cruz in Texas in 2018 and woke liberals all across the country joined in to try and push him across the finish line. They all really, really wanted 2018 to be the year that Texas turned blue enough to send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. That didn’t happen, though, so the next step was to encourage his political ambitions by demanding he run for president. There was never any real doubt that he would, so he jumped in. And, just like that, he raised a mind-numbing $6.1 million online in his first 24 hours as a declared candidate.
You would think after such a spectacular start that Beto would be well on his way to landing at the top of the long list of contenders running for the 2020 Democrat nomination. Alas, the up and coming Kennedy-wannabe, the rising star of the Democrat Party has fallen spectacularly since his presidential campaign began. O’Rourke is stuck in the bottom of the second tier of candidates. Real Clear Politics has him at 3.2% in Tuesday’s roster of Democrat candidates. He’s fallen and he can’t get up. At least that is the way it looks now.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t feel sorry for him in the least. The guy has tried to run a national presidential campaign as he did his campaign for a statewide election in Texas. In his Texas race against Cruz, he ran a bare-bones campaign. His campaign had little structure and staff, which means he was mostly winging it. He hopped into a vehicle and drove around the state, visiting all 254 counties and claiming bragging rights for that in campaign stump speeches. He was a hit during college campus stops, skateboarding into the hearts of young voters across the state. He relied on social media and word of mouth up until almost the end of the race. And his online donations poured in.
He’s a very self-confident man, that Beto. He thought his star power would translate into a seat in the Oval Office. “I was born to run” he famously said and then immediately regretted when the conceitedness of that remark registered with regular Americans. Who does he think he is? Women didn’t much appreciate it when he mentioned his wife is the one with most of the responsibility of raising their three children back in El Paso. And there is the compulsion to jump on Instagram and subject everyone to dental visits and hair cuts. No one wants to see that.
Beto O’Rourke is an empty suit with little political success to boast of, even though he has served on the El Paso City Council and in the House of Representatives. There is not a single piece of legislation to point to that would indicate superior leadership skills or the ability to bring both sides of the aisle together. His campaign is only now releasing policy positions. In this case, it is only one policy and that policy is climate change. Spoiler alert: Beto was for accepting contributions from Big Oil before he was against it. Americans are slowly realizing that Beto is wishy-washy in his political beliefs, to put it politely.
Counter-jumping in Iowa diners will only take him so far, so he’s ramping up his professional staff and sounding like he may be taking his national campaign a bit more seriously now. Roaming around the country acting as though he’s in a mid-life crisis and trying to find himself has grown old with folks curious to understand what exactly Beto O’Rourke offers as a presidential candidate. His crowds are drastically receding at campaign stops. He acknowledged he must “do a better job” to reach a broad audience.
If O’Rourke does carry through and do a town hall on Fox News Channel, he’ll be guaranteed the top ratings in that time slot, regardless of the day of the week. Pete Buttigieg proved that last Sunday when the ratings of his town hall with Chris Wallace were reported. The FNC ratings more than doubled Mayor Pete’s town hall on CNN’s ratings. Tuesday, Beto will do a town hall on CNN. We’ll see how his ratings fare there.
O’Rourke is hiring staff in Iowa and in South Carolina. Just two months out from his campaign launch, it sounds as if we are about to see Beto 3.0. He’s putting a lot into the CNN town hall. He’s traveling with a campaign entourage and hoping to broaden his audience.
O’Rourke said the CNN town hall is only “a version” of the many untelevised town halls he’s held. “It’s just going to be broadcast to a lot more people than we have on our Facebook Live stream,” he said Monday.
The importance of the event to the former Texas congressman was apparent as soon as he arrived in eastern Iowa. In addition to Chris Evans and Cynthia Cano, close advisers who regularly travel with him, O’Rourke was accompanied by his campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, and longtime adviser David Wysong.
With O’Rourke’s full war chest, having raised $9.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, he can stay in the race for the foreseeable future.