Beto O’Rourke is back in the picture. Proving that the base is still there for the presidential candidate from Texas, Beto has raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his candidacy. This beats even Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million.
Does this mean that O’Rourke is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination? Probably not. It does guarantee that he is going to be in the conversation moving forward. I would venture, however, that he isn’t running for president – he’s auditioning for VP.
O’Rourke might have the star power to win the presidency but could he outdo former Vice President Joe Biden nationwide? Probably not.
There is also significant momentum in the minority wing of the Democratic party. Activated by President Trump’s inflammatory policies and rhetoric, the liberal side of the aisle is looking to further engage these vwith a minority candidate.
Given how Trump also has alienated women voters, a female candidate is also a potential winner for the blue team. Ethnicity and “maleness” is where things get tricky for Beto as a presidential candidate in the #MeToo era. This is a problem for the Democratic party at large. They have star power by the bucket load in old, white candidates like Biden and Bernie Sanders but less so in minority candidates like Kamala Harris. Harris herself has already encountered some issues with her controversial record as a prosecutor.
Who do you want for a vice president? Someone likable, a good speaker, and a safe pair of hands. Beto O’Rourke ticks all of these boxes.
This complicated situation would leave Beto as a compelling candidate for vice president. He will have a lot of money to build his brand and showcase his message around the country. He has decent star power, and his moderate views would provide balance to any ticket that features a left-wing candidate. Beto could be great on a Harris ticket, strong on a Cory Booker ticket, and even Bernie Sanders could see him as a potential side-kick given how O’Rourke resonates with Hispanic voters.
Millennial voters would spontaneously combust at the prospect of Bernie and Beto running together. What’s clear for that campaign is that apart from a balanced ideology, there would be cash to burn as the $6.1 and $5.9 million they each raised in the first 24 hours of their candidacy shows.
Remember, Sanders is 77, and O’Rourke at a sprightly 46 would add some much-needed sparkle and a fresh face. O’Rourke’s connection with minorities and women is also something Sanders has failed to do in the past and is a definite value add.
In last year’s US Senate run, O’Rourke failed to beat incumbent Ted Cruz, but his campaign may have boosted other Democratic candidates around Texas.
“Attention Grabber” is precisely the role he can play in the 2020 US presidential election cycle. He might not make it to the top spot, but his viral campaign is going to suck up oxygen from Donald Trump and provide some serious free campaign dollars to whichever Democrat does come out on top.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.