The former Representative Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has announced that his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination is officially over. It has been quite the roller-coaster ride for the aspiring politician, and while he was never really expected to make it to the top table, the fact that he campaigned at all tells us something has shifted in American politics.
In 2018, when Beto challenged Senator Ted Cruz for his Texas seat, the media practically salivated that this young, handsome newcomer might topple a “Big Beast” of the GOP. Beto raised over $80 million dollars – which was the largest figure ever recorded for a senatorial race – and he lost. This should have been a warning for the Democratic Party: A fresh face and a lot of cash does not a winner make.
Lesson Not Learned
The midterm elections that saw Democrats take control of the House was notable not so much for the much-anticipated “blue wave,” but rather for the figures of prominence who actually lost their races. Beto is a prime example of this, as is Stacey Abrams (the former Georgia state Representative). Both were deemed “the future” of the party, and both lost. Both had the right backstory, espoused the right policies, and both sought to denigrate the era of President Trump as a dark and twisted time … The voters didn’t buy it.
Yet after losing, neither of these hopefuls scuttled away. In fact, buoyed by the slavish media, they assumed that their careers were on the rise. Beto to dreams of the presidency, and Abrams -even just a couple of months ago – being touted as a possible VP pick.
They forgot the most important rule: Never believe your own press – especially if it’s positive.
Hype Over Substance
This was on the cards for a very long time, and it shows the difference between polling data and betting odds in a starkly clear way. Almost all major polling (with a couple of exceptions) since the beginning of the year gave Beto the edge over Trump in a head-to-head matchup:
- SurveyUSA 9/13 – 9/16 Trump +3
- Emerson 5/10 – 5/13 O’Rourke +4
- CNN 4/25 – 4/29 O’Rourke +10
- Emerson 4/11 – 4/14 O’Rourke +2
- PPP (D) 3/27 – 3/28 O’Rourke +6
- Emerson 3/17 – 3/18 Trump +2
- Emerson 2/14 – 2/16 O’Rourke +6
- PPP (D) 1 /19 – 1/21 O’Rourke +6
Yet as Liberty Nation points out in our weekly Political Horse Race column examining the betting odds each week, the cash money bettors knew better. Beto O’Rourke has been sitting on 100/1 odds of winning even the nomination for the last two months. Prior to that, he was lucky to break 30/1.
The reality is that President Beto was not going to happen … at least not in 2020.
But what of O’Rourke’s signature policy to go door-to-door and buy ”back” the guns of America? Is there a lesson to be learned here, too? Almost all candidates favor gun control, some to a more extreme measure than others. Should a Democrat win the presidency, we will likely see a raft of policies that infringe upon the Second Amendment, however, will they be brave enough to dare the mass buyback?
What O’Rourke should have realized early on is that he didn’t really have any support. He was being used as the Canary in the Coalmine to test just how far the real power people could push gun control before support dries up. He was flattered, he was complimented, he was encouraged, and ultimately, he was used up and spat out.
How many more Canaries are out there now?