Beto heads for Iowa as Dems gear up for 2020

Political loser Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost to Senator Ted Cruz on election day, may be heading to Iowa after the Polk County Democrats extended an invitation to speak. O'Rourke hasn't responded to the invite yet, but with so many national Democrats in his ear urging him to run, it's hard to see how he will be able to resist the siren call of a presidential run.

A new Morning Consult poll out today shows the two septugenarian front runners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, with the lion's share of support from Democrats while O'Rourke finished a distant third. But it's still a remarkable showing for a losing senate candidate who no one had heard of two months ago.

Fox News:

Andrew E. Smith, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said it was still too early to invest in a O’Rourke candidacy.

“It’s probably just a reflection of the media attention he’s gotten the last month or so,” Smith said.

O’Rourke has been coy on a presidential run. On Sunday he sent an email to supporters saying he wants “to be part of the best way forward for this country – whatever way I can help in whatever form that takes.”

Sean Bagniewski, the chairman of the Polk County Democrats, said the group would love to host O'Rourke.

“He was unapologetically progressive. He’s a young face. He wasn’t afraid to be himself. Democrats are often very poll tested, very consultant-driven," he said. "He was more authentic in a way that people haven’t seen since Barack Obama, so he connected with people nationwide in ways that some of our more cautious leaders haven’t.”

Bringing up the "O" word is significant. Recall that Barack Obama was a newly minted senator in 2004 when the drumbeat started to woo him to run. Obama couldn't resist the call. Can O'Rourke?

O'Rourke might see his entrance in the race as the beginning of a generational shift in the Democratic party. The comparisons to John F. Kennedy would be unavoidable. Kennedy's emergence as a candidate in 1959 came at a time when the old guard Democrats who came to power during FDR's administration were still entrenched, leaving newer Democrats to while away their time waiting for retirements or deaths.

Kennedy's policies weren't any different than FDR Democrats, but his youth and "vigor" were sold to voters as something different. O'Rourke parrots the party line put down by the Sanders/Warren/Clinton faction. But those  Democrats will all be in their 70's on election day, 2020. The lure of relative youth is powerful with voters and if O'Rourke can raise the kind of money he raised in the Senate race - $80 million - he would be a formidable force in the party.

Even if he didn't win the nomination or run for president, O'Rourke would be well positioned to run for governor in 2022 or the senate in 2024. As a younger man of 46, he can afford to wait, although resisting cries from Democrats for Beto to save them from Trump may be too enticing.  

I find O'Rourke boring and predictable, not to mention dumb. But Democrats are perpetually looking for the white knight they had in the glory days of "Camelot" when the beautiful people ran Washington. The press would dearly love to see those times again as well. That's why I fully expect O'Rourke to be unable to resist the opportunity. He'll be a candidate for president by this time next year.

Political loser Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost to Senator Ted Cruz on election day, may be heading to Iowa after the Polk County Democrats extended an invitation to speak. O'Rourke hasn't responded to the invite yet, but with so many national Democrats in his ear urging him to run, it's hard to see how he will be able to resist the siren call of a presidential run.

A new Morning Consult poll out today shows the two septugenarian front runners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, with the lion's share of support from Democrats while O'Rourke finished a distant third. But it's still a remarkable showing for a losing senate candidate who no one had heard of two months ago.

Fox News:

Andrew E. Smith, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said it was still too early to invest in a O’Rourke candidacy.

“It’s probably just a reflection of the media attention he’s gotten the last month or so,” Smith said.

O’Rourke has been coy on a presidential run. On Sunday he sent an email to supporters saying he wants “to be part of the best way forward for this country – whatever way I can help in whatever form that takes.”

Sean Bagniewski, the chairman of the Polk County Democrats, said the group would love to host O'Rourke.

“He was unapologetically progressive. He’s a young face. He wasn’t afraid to be himself. Democrats are often very poll tested, very consultant-driven," he said. "He was more authentic in a way that people haven’t seen since Barack Obama, so he connected with people nationwide in ways that some of our more cautious leaders haven’t.”

Bringing up the "O" word is significant. Recall that Barack Obama was a newly minted senator in 2004 when the drumbeat started to woo him to run. Obama couldn't resist the call. Can O'Rourke?

O'Rourke might see his entrance in the race as the beginning of a generational shift in the Democratic party. The comparisons to John F. Kennedy would be unavoidable. Kennedy's emergence as a candidate in 1959 came at a time when the old guard Democrats who came to power during FDR's administration were still entrenched, leaving newer Democrats to while away their time waiting for retirements or deaths.

Kennedy's policies weren't any different than FDR Democrats, but his youth and "vigor" were sold to voters as something different. O'Rourke parrots the party line put down by the Sanders/Warren/Clinton faction. But those  Democrats will all be in their 70's on election day, 2020. The lure of relative youth is powerful with voters and if O'Rourke can raise the kind of money he raised in the Senate race - $80 million - he would be a formidable force in the party.

Even if he didn't win the nomination or run for president, O'Rourke would be well positioned to run for governor in 2022 or the senate in 2024. As a younger man of 46, he can afford to wait, although resisting cries from Democrats for Beto to save them from Trump may be too enticing.  

I find O'Rourke boring and predictable, not to mention dumb. But Democrats are perpetually looking for the white knight they had in the glory days of "Camelot" when the beautiful people ran Washington. The press would dearly love to see those times again as well. That's why I fully expect O'Rourke to be unable to resist the opportunity. He'll be a candidate for president by this time next year.