The Briefing Room: The Buzz Around Beto
The 2020 Presidential Election is still 18 months away, but as the crowded field of Democrats begin their campaigns, this week brought us some notable splashes in that of Beto O'Rourke, former Congressman of the 16th district in El Paso, Texas. Along with what we have to call former Vice President Joe Biden's unofficial bid and all but foregone conclusion that he will also join the race. Eighteen months from now what seems to be the burning question in all political circles is who the Democratic Party will choose as its face.
On Meet the Press this Sunday, Chuck Todd posed a question to his viewers in light of the recent buzz around Beto, asking, “Is he just a naturally gifted political athlete in the image of those like Ronald Regan or a Bright Lights flame out like in the image of John Edwards?” Beto’s announcement has made headlines on every news outlet this week, his picture and profile in Vanity Fair has gone viral, and the pace of his campaign leaves his Democratic competition out of breath - having hit every county in the primary battleground state of New Hampshire almost immediately.
To make it very clear, the 46-year-old graduate of Colombia University from El Paso, Texas, served three terms in the House of Representatives, representing his home town. Even though incumbents enjoy a 90 percent rejection rate, Beto did forfeit his right to his seat in order to challenge the incumbent Ted Cruz in last year's Midterm Election, but lost the United States Senate seat in the state of Texas, all but by just two points in a state that had not elected a democratic senator in over 30 years.
Coming off what would be considered an honorable loss, but still making him technically unemployed, Beto's relentless spirit and grassroots campaigning have seemed to catch fire once again, his campaign bringing in a record-setting 6.1 million dollars on its first day. With a Presidential Election still 18 months away, Beto's electricity and ability to galvanize a generation of millennials could carry him all the way to the White House, as it did for a young senator from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama. It would make him the first candidate since Abraham Lincoln to lose a race in the Senate only to become the president of the United States.
The Democratic party's desperate search for a voice could very well come once again in the most unlikely shape and size in the kid from El Paso, Texas. However, more center-left moderate candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden might have something to say about that, along with other incumbent senators that are still employed. Senators that have also announced their candidacy for 2020 include Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. They are figuring out if they have what it takes, but also dealing with the rest of America's daily drama with the Trump administration.
One thing can be certain, The Beto Show via Mini-Van will be coming to a city near you. The grassroots campaign visited all 254 counties despite his loss to Ted Cruz last year, and when asked what the strategy was behind this effort, Beto stated, “You've got to show up and you've got to come back.” O'Rourke heads to South Carolina after his campaign visits New Hampshire. He plans to hold his campaign's kickoff rally on March 30 in his home town of El Paso. As far as his policies and proposals, all we really know is that he's vowed to run on the right side (or should I say left side) of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but more importantly, the man believes with all his heart that he was born to run and that we the people are “the last great hope.”