Beto O’Rourke travels California seeking direction and his old spark

Supporters are not the only ones trying to figure out where O’Rourke goes from here. As he spent four days meandering through California, the White House hopeful seemed just as much in flux, searching for direction even more than votes in the state’s March 3 primary.

He toggled between policy and photo-ops, between big crowds and intimate settings. He took copious notes, filled his Instagram feed with luxuriant photos of Yosemite and spoke over and over about the strategy that propelled his Democratic Senate candidacy to a near-upset victory in deep-red Texas: Show up. Listen…

“It’s one thing to run a largely uncontested Democratic Senate primary … and then run against Ted Cruz,” a Republican incumbent personally disliked by members of both parties, said Jim Henson, who teaches government studies at the University of Texas. “It’s a whole other thing to enter a crowded presidential field where, at the outset, there were a lot of people who were more heavy and had other assets to bring to the table.”