Former congressman Beto O'Rourke from Texas has just announced he's running for President in the Democratic primary, in 2020.
There have been rumours that he's gonna run for weeks, but before that it was a real question as to whether he'd plundge in. And unfortunately, this answer is not the one America needs.
Two years ago Beto O'Rourke was an unknown congressman straight outta El Paso, Texas. Then, he decided to take on one of the most hated and vile politicians in America - Ted 'The Zodiac Killer' Cruz, when O'Rourke challenged him for his Senate seat in the 2018 mid terms.
Now, Texas has been a conservative stronghold for forever. Indeed, the last Democrat to win a state-wide election there was Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock who won his re-election in 1994.
The left though have been seeing a resurgence in the state, with anti-corporate, leftist populist policies becoming, well, popular everywhere.
So Beto rode that wave, and in a populist fashion he waged a largely progressive (by modern American standards) campaign against Cruz. I liked him a lot during his run, and really wanted him to win. He deserves enormous credit for being one of the first 2018 candidates to vow not to take any corporate money, and to come out for policies like raising the minimum wage to $15, for taxpayer funded tuition at public universities, for medicare for all, and more. That was at least the initial case.
Towards the end, he turned his back on some of his promises - like supporting medicare for all, like pledging not to take corporate & fossil fuel campaign money - being in fact the second largest recipient of fossil fuel donations in America in that election cycle, ironically behind only Ted Cruz himself. And others.
We can't be certain, but my opinion is that that's why he lost. Republicans right now are super energised because of Trump - he's the racist kek-Lord they've dreamed of for decades. So, wherever he tells them to go out and vote, they go.
To combat that energy, to inspire enough of your own enthusiasm to sufficiently turn out your voters against that, you need to do something really big, bold, and transformative. You need to start a real political revolution (hint, hint).
Beto had, initially, devotion to great policies. But he when the campaign moved into the general election phase, he seriously slipped on that, and the base rightly lost interest - got angry at him, in fact. His rhetoric became more flowery, less committed to a delivering on a robust policy agenda, and he lowered his fighting tone overall. He pivoted towards the center, which is not just dissappointing for now, but it's alarming in that it points to how he would govern in a theoretical public office of the future. The establishment will constantly be pushing hard to suppress real change - the going is always gonna tough in D.C. So, you need someone who you know is gonna stand up to that pressure, and not curve their game.
It ain't Beto.
Though he did very well against Cruz, he ultimately lost to Cruz. He didn't have the progressive credentials and fighting spirit to really bring out his troops. If Cruz wasn't sooo hated, he would not have done nearly as well. He gained massive media attention for it though, and so the msm has been talking heavily about the validity of his run.
But here's the thing - his reasons to run aren't valid, as far as America is concerned. The US is in the midst of a time of immense change. They need a real progressive who as said is going to relentlessly stand up to the establishment on producing a real evolutionary and policy-focussed agenda. Medicare for All, starting and finishing a major raial & social justice revolution, ushering in a Green New Deal to combat Climate Change, breaking up the Big Banks, ending America's imperialism, raising the minimum wage to a living one, and much, much more.
Beto O'Rourke, who talked a tough game at first on many of those ideas but then turned away from them when it was cruch time cannot be believed in to deliver on those plans. Can you trust, for example, the person who took the second highest amount of fossil fuel money to combat the fossil fuel industry?
Further analysis of his voting record showed he frequently voted against Democratic legislation and for Republican bills.
He's much to centrist and corporatist for today's America.
He's lost a lotttt of support in the left since all the knowledge of his true political colours came out. Bernie Sanders supporters for example have been talking for weeks of carrying out a 'money bomb' for Bernie on the day Beto announces - donating to Sanders' campaign to try and raise more for Bernie 2020 on what otherwise is a normal day, than Beto does on his big opener. Most of the active progressive base has lost interest and been disheartened by him. He's operated in Washington and ended up campaigning as much more of a centrist then he initially professed to be.
He's a good man to be sure, who wants what's best for people, and is far better than any Republican. But just 'better' than any Republican is nottttt good enough. That's a low, looow ass bar.
Jumping in the race now, whilst potentially splitting some establishment candidates' support, is most likely to hurt real progressives in the race. Particularly in his ability to raise a huge amount of small dollar donations, money that could otherwise be going to other, real progressives. Beto had an enormous - in fact, all time record breaking - small donor set up for his 2018 race. Ted Cruz was in fact that unpopular, millions of Americans from across the country wanted to help Beto beat him bad.
Again, with the fact that this isn't a race against Cruz, and that he's lost a lot of progressive support, his donor base won't nearly be as large this time. But it will likely still be very threatening to other real progressives.
He should do what he said he was originally going to do - work on taking on John Cornyn's Senate seat, again in Texas, in 2020. Just this time, learn from your mistakes: evolve, genuinely change and move to the left. Run and legislate progressively, through and through.