Nor is it as though many of the late-entering white guys — other than Joe Biden and to some extent Bernie Sanders — are really doing all that well. One candidate who’s had a particularly rough go lately is Beto O’Rourke, who’s fallen to 4 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling average after having peaked at almost 10 percent after his announcement.
We discussed O’Rourke at length in our Austin podcast last week. (My view: He’s fallen out of the top tier, but his money and retail-politics skills give him some advantages as compared with the rest of the also-rans.) One theme I forgot to talk about in Austin, however, is the extent to which the left was ahead of the curve in voicing skepticism about both O’Rourke’s chances and his desirability as a nominee. This stands in sharp contrast to Biden, whom both the left and the mainstream media underestimated and who has surged in the polls despite a million anti-Biden hot takes.
What’s the difference? It may largely be that O’Rourke — unlike Biden — is swimming in the same media pond as the left and as the media elites. His campaign has been heavily reliant on Instagram, for instance, where he has almost 1 million followers. His supporters tend to be younger. Twitter certainly isn’t the Democratic electorate, but it does contain the sorts of voters that O’Rourke is competing for: According to a Morning Consult analysis this week, Twitter-using Democrats are almost twice as likely to support Beto as non-users.