I go through various news websites daily—and have recently noticed something striking–namely that Beto O’Rourke aka Beto—is either not “progressive” enough or is much too progressive to be a unifying figure should he choose to run against Trump in 2020.
Within the last few days there have been a deluge of headlines declaring that Beto was not progressive enough to stand for the new Democratic party in 2020. Here are some of the headlines: “The Left Blindsides Beto” (Politico); “Beto O’Rourke May Look the Part, but he’s No True Progressive” (The Independent); “Beto O’Rourke is not the Progressive some Imagine” (The Chicago Tribune.) You get the picture. Beto himself shrugged off the critics, remarking that he is “not big on labels” and did not know if he would consider himself “a progressive.”
On the other hand, right after his narrow loss to Republican Senator Ted Cruz in Texas, The Atlantic ran a number of stories pointing to Beto’s liberal stances on some issues—for example Medicare-for-All—as a reason both for his loss and his unsuitability as a 2020 presidential contender. (See earlier post in this blog: “Dreaming in Dallas.“)
While Beto remains non-committal—and may ultimately decide that he could do more for Democrats by running and winning a Senate seat in 2020–a poll of support for likely Democratic presidential contenders taken from October to December shows that only Beto and Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar have gained substantially, with Beto going from 4% in October to 9% in December, and Klobuchar from 1% to 3%. (Bernie Sanders went from 13% to 14%, while former Vice President Joe Biden dropped from 33% to 30%.) It is, of course, too soon to know how things will shake out—but intriguing nonetheless.