Beto O’Rourke announced today that he is ending his presidential campaign and will not be a candidate for any office in 2020.
Given O’Rourke’s inability to make headway in the polls, it is not surprising that he is dropping out. What is noteworthy, perhaps, is the fact that he was ever taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Beto was largely a creation of the media, which rooted unabashedly for him to defeat the despised Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate race. That contest made O’Rourke a celebrity on the left. But evidence that he was in any way ready for prime time was entirely lacking, and once his usefulness as a Cruz opponent was over, interest waned.
I think the Beto story illustrates the down-side of the press’s loyalty to the Democratic Party: its candidates are systematically overestimated. This happens at the top level, with the delusion that Hillary Clinton was a powerhouse politician, as well as at O’Rourke’s humbler stratum. The phenomenon lives on. To take just one example, see the multiple press reports on Pete Buttigieg “surging” in Iowa. I will venture a prediction that Pete Buttigieg, like Beto O’Rourke and Hillary Clinton, will never be President of the United States.