The 2020 Democratic frontrunner is a Republican

This voting record suggests that O’Rourke is very slightly to the left of West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, whom President Trump has come close to nominating for a Cabinet post. In what sense, exactly, is Beto a “progressive”?

I can understand why some naive Democrats, for strictly partisan at-least-he’s-not-the-other-guy reasons, were big paid-up Beto supporters in his failed 2018 Senate campaign, and show signs of going the same way in 2020. What I do not understand is why ostensibly committed left-wingers would give this corporate shill the time of day. When Elizabeth Bruenig of The Washington Post, a socialist Texan, dared to write a mildly critical column about Beto in her newspaper, she received thousands of hateful messages accusing her of being a crypto-Trumpist collaborator who hates immigrants and the poor.

Why do left-wingers settle for candidates who pay lip service to the parts of their agenda that are actually appealing to a majority of Americans — shoring up the welfare state, policing the Wall Street criminals, taking care of our forests and rivers, giving people higher wages and better health care? This is not a question about pragmatism vs. principles or making the perfect the enemy of the good. It’s a question about whether a candidate should have any principles in the first place.