How long can O'Rourke wait as 2020 pace picks up around him?

That anyone would ask if O’Rourke is waiting too long with the election 22 months away is unusual. But anger over President Donald Trump has created an outsized Democratic appetite to go on the political attack. And because impeachment seems unlikely, fast-forwarding 2020 campaigns may become necessary.

“American political campaigns have really become almost reality television programs,” said Ray Sullivan, a veteran of the 2012 Republican presidential campaign of then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry waited until August 2011 to join an already months-old Republican presidential primary field and briefly became the front-runner — something that seems impossible just two presidential campaigns later.

“The attention span of activists and voters and even the media has become so short, and the attention-grabbing events so vacuous and fleeting, that the candidates would be very smart, I think, to get in early and identify and carve out their niche,” Sullivan said.