His absence from the fray has been noted — and his introspective writing style has been mocked. But amid much snickering, there is also evidence to suggest that if he does run for president, it could help him politically, advancing his off-beat brand.

“Beto is able to drive his own message,” said Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager. In a political environment where “the person is the message,” Mook said, “what makes him snacky for [the media] inevitably makes him refreshing and different for voters … The press writes about what Beto decides to do on his own, not in the context of Trump. That’s a big deal.”…

“Beto’s social media personality rivals cult-like status,” said Michael Ceraso, a Democratic strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Sanders and Barack Obama. Instead of embarking on a book tour or visiting early nominating states, he said, O’Rourke has “mastered the art of anticipation to mitigate political risks and elevate his persona.”