If O’Rourke loses to Cruz, as all the polls suggest he will, he might have to answer some tough questions about how he spent all that cash, and why he didn’t try harder—or try at all—to peel off moderate Republicans disillusioned with Cruz and the Trump-era GOP.
It wouldn’t have been that hard to do. In states like Indiana and Tennessee, Trump blowouts in 2016 have forced Democrats to run as moderates on hot-button issues like immigration and Supreme Court nominees. To win, they need a lot of people who voted for Trump to vote for them.
But Texas only went for Trump by nine points. A Texas Democrat could in theory compromise on one or two key issues—and by compromise, I mean simply refrain from calling for publicly funded abortions, or immigration amnesty, or Medicare for all—to be competitive in 2018. O’Rourke was unwilling to do this, and instead doubled down on what can only be described as left-wing positions on everything from health care to immigration to gun control.
One can already imagine the questions Democratic donors might have for him if his strategy fails.