Thirty years ago, any of this would have gotten Beto laughed out of serious presidential consideration. Today, we live in a different era, defined by the social media of which Beto is a master.

Yes, his journey is completely ridiculous and has inspired criticism and parody, but people are talking about him. As Donald Trump powerfully proved in his primary run, nothing is more important.

Yes, his journey is absurdly self-involved, but self-involvement is a leading 21st-century American mode.

Yes, his journey is highly unorthodox, but, again, as Trump showed, successful presidential candidates always find their own way to win.