Thursday morning former Texas Congressman, Senate candidate, and national superstar, Beto O’Rourke, is running for President of the United States. He made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter after it had been leaked late Wednesday night to a local news station in El Paso, his hometown.
I am running to serve you as the next president. The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. No one person can meet them on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a movement that includes all of us. Say you're in: https://t.co/EKLdkVET2u pic.twitter.com/lainXyvG2n
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 14, 2019
O’Rourke became famous within the political sphere, and subsequently garnered a national audience after a video of him responding to a question about NFL players kneeling for the anthem.
That clip, while a minuscule and rather petty issue, was revealing of the type of candidate O’Rourke was going to be, and shows how good of an orator and politician he is. O’Rourke ran an unapologetically liberal campaign in what conventional wisdom saw as deep red Texas. That dynamic, a proud liberal in a deeply conservative state should’ve been doomed according to the experts.
However, O’Rourke ran one of the best campaigns this country has seen in recent history, and he got a national spotlight, and made a name for himself in the process. He lost to Senator Ted Cruz by about 3%, a state where President Trump won by 9%, and a place that had not seen a Democrat win statewide office in decades. The fact that he got so close gives him a strong platform to make the case that he can win the states Trump won in 2016, and possibly win some more conservative states because he’s proven he can do it. He got so close in one of the Republican strongholds.
Another big factor of his “electability” strength is how good he is at fundraising. O’Rourke led the charge in the 2018 election cycle in rejecting any corporate PAC (Political Action Committee) money, and would only take donations from individuals. Normally that would hinder a campaign, but he managed to raise the most money ever for a Senate election; he raised $80 million!
That will be a massive bonus for him in a heavily contested Democratic primary. Money is going to be crucial and whoever can raise a lot and can pump out ads, and hire more and more people will be at a serious advantage, and he is going to be one of the frontrunners in that respect.
Beto struggled with the decision about whether to run following his defeat in 2018. He travelled to different areas of the country on a sort of soul-searching mission in order to determine if he, and more importantly his wife and three kids, were ready for the challenge of running a national campaign for President.
Ultimately he decided he was, and I’m glad that he did. Regardless of if I vote for him, not sure who I’m supporting yet, his voice will be important in this primary, specifically because he’s from a more conservative area and he’s from the border, a key Democratic point of contention with the President. He is a strong candidate, and could even be an underdog because of his experience, or lack thereof as some would argue, but he has proven himself as a skilled politician and understands the needs of this country. He is going to be a force to be reckoned with, and will be monumental in shaping the debate for the months to come.