North Texas Daily

Beto was unprepared for a presidential campaign and it showed

Beto was unprepared for a presidential campaign and it showed

Beto was unprepared for a presidential campaign and it showed
November 15
12:10 2019

The 2020 presidential election got a bit more exciting when former Congressman Beto O’ Rourke announced his intentions to run in the presidential election.

But almost as quickly as it began, his campaign came to an end on Nov. 1.

“Beto-mania” was at an all-time high at the beginning of the year so it made sense for O’Rourke to strike while the iron was hot, but was he too ahead of himself? Most importantly, when did it all go wrong for the popular democrat?

Out of all the Democratic candidates, O’Rourke was arguably the biggest underdog in the race which he wisely used to his advantage. He was relatable and popular among young Democratic voters for his passionate beliefs to change communities. He became a political star when he led a well-fought contest for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz last year. He garnered public support from celebrities like Lebron James to Beyonce who both publicly endorsed him.

Though he was ultimately unsuccessful, O’Rourke showed how close Texas was to becoming a blue state with a narrow margin of 50.9 percent to 48.3 percent.

After his defeat, O’Rourke’s supporters advised him to run for the 2020 election. He was ranked in a poll as the third most popular Democrat behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. If he was almost able to turn Texas around, couldn’t he give the president a run for his money?

I feel this sort of thinking started the ticking clock to a failed campaign for the presidency. Other than stating that he wouldn’t rule out a run for the presidency, he remained silent for a few months until March of this year.

Worst case scenario was that O’Rourke bought into his own hype and hoped that his star power would carry over to all 50 states since he led a revolutionary campaign made up of many viral moments. Beto had a strong start at the beginning of his campaign. His supporters were enthusiastic enough to help him raise $6 million during his first day as a candidate, and he also pulled high numbers during polls.

Another mistake noted by CNN was that O’Rourke didn’t have much political aspirations outside of El Paso. He spoke on values instead of specific issues which worked during his senate run for Texas, but didn’t translate into success for a much larger America.

Another strike against Beto was that he hadn’t hired a campaign manager before he decided to run for office which displayed a worrisome sign that O’Rourke’s campaign rushed in with no plan. His situation was comparable to boarding on an ocean liner that didn’t carry lifejackets.

During the second quarter of his run, he saw a dip in poll numbers where he remained in the single digits, and pulled in $3.6 million which was much less than he earned during his first day as candidate. This could be attributed to people who began to take notice that O’Rourke’s speeches during debates seemed to come off as rehearsed which then made them start to reconsider his chances of nabbing the Democratic nomination.

I feel the final nail in the coffin was that O’Rourke ultimately got lost in the shuffle. Other political stars like Pete Buttigieg surfaced and took O’Rourke’s place as a positive force to take down President Trump.

With a halt in fundraising and low poll numbers, O’Rourke ultimately acknowledged defeat.

While O’Rourke’s image is very different from a regular politician, he was unprepared for the responsibilities that comes with campaigning for office.

His campaign was built on impulse rather than strategy and without a strong foundation, his run was going to crumble sooner rather than later. While O’Rourke might be out of the race, his voice still holds influence and he can sway his supporters to get behind a different candidate. In many ways, he can help change America from the inside, which was the plan of his campaign from the beginning.

Featured Illustration: Olivia Varnell

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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