In all seriousness, though, I have no idea why anyone is taking the idea of O’Rourke’s presidential campaign seriously. It’s as mystifying to me as erotic tweets about him, which are as surprisingly common as they are unquotable in a family periodical. The biggest obstacle to his success will almost certainly be the crowdedness of the Democratic field. Beto might be the favorite of billionaire mega-donors and a man who came marginally close to becoming a U.S. senator, but he is going to have a hard time making headway against actual billionaire mega-donors like Tom Steyer and actual U.S. senators like Kamala Harris. And that’s ignoring the off chance that Democrats might opt for a progressive instead, like Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown, in which case Beto will definitely be out of luck.
The news that party insiders in Iowa cannot wait to throw money and resources at Beto is the best early Christmas present President Trump’s re-election committee could ask for. O’Rourke is never going to make it further than a San Francisco fundraiser or a CNN debate stage, but even if he did, he would lose in a landslide of proportions unseen since Ronald Reagan’s second victory in 1984. I know this might be hard for alleged adults who consider his Instagram posts about cooking an aphrodisiac, but the aesthetic that gets Austin dog park goers racing to the polls will not go over as well in the Midwestern states that Democrats actually need to win in 2020. People in Mahoning County, Ohio, do not care how many indie rock EPs you have performed on or how totally sweet your Instagram feed is. They will also resent your opposition to President Trump’s trade policies and your indifference to actual bread-and-butter issues in favor of a vague ethos of “cool” and “nice.”