But from the moment he launched his presidential bid in March, he has been struggling. Those very qualities that had been the recipe of his relative success in Texas suddenly became liabilities.
His charming ways and good looks were thrown back in his face as white privilege. That wasn’t helped when he gave Vanity Fair a gift of a one-liner on the eve of launch – “Man, I’m just born to be in it” – that made many Democrats wince.
The mere decision to run for the White House was interpreted as chutzpah. As the Daily Beast cruelly put it: “Reacting to losing to Ted Cruz by running for president is like failing to land a role in a community theater production and deciding to take your talents to Broadway.”
In the latest poll from Quinnipiac university, O’Rourke is drawing a glum 5% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters. He is being outgunned on 10% by Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has stolen much of his thunder.