Though former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke was initially treated by the liberal establishment media as a sort of second-coming of former Presidents Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy all rolled into one, those days have passed and the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race hasn’t been particularly good for O’Rourke over the past few months.
That reality apparently has hit home for a major liberal newspaper in Texas, the Houston Chronicle, as its editorial board just published a seemingly begrudging op-ed calling for O’Rourke to drop out of the presidential race and instead stay in Texas to run for the Senate.
El Paso tipping point
The key point for the Chronicle in reaching the decision to call for for O’Rourke to remain in Texas was the manner in which the candidate — who temporarily placed his campaign on hold — reacted to the tragic mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, in which 22 people were murdered and dozens more were wounded.
The Democrats and national media, as they are wont to do, placed all of the blame for the shooting on President Donald Trump and his purportedly anti-immigrant rhetoric, and O’Rourke certainly didn’t hesitate in joining that trend in a rather blunt and explicit fashion.
Aside from repeatedly referring to the president as being bigoted, racist and xenophobic and responsible for the attack — all but insinuating that Trump loaded the gun and handed it to the shooter — O’Rourke was asked at one point what the president could say or do that would “cool the atmosphere of hate toward immigrants.”
“Um, what do you think? You know the s*** he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know. … Like, members of the press — what the f***? It’s these questions that you know the answers to,” O’Rourke replied.
Giving Beto a pass
The Chronicle‘s editorial board admitted that such language from a candidate wasn’t normally considered “presidential” and noted that, asterisks notwithstanding, wasn’t appropriate for a Sunday editorial, either.
Nevertheless, the newspaper suggested that the “unscripted” and “human moment” fell into the category of “the art of giving a damn,” and therefore O’Rourke’s coarse language was somehow excused and shouldn’t be deemed “offensive.”
That, plus other moments when O’Rourke was described as acting like “real people,” prompted the Chronicle to write: “So Beto, if you’re listening: Come home. Drop out of the race for president and come back to Texas to run for senator. The chances of winning the race you’re in now are vanishingly small. And Texas needs you.”
The paper suggested that O’Rourke had run an “inspiring” campaign in 2018 against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and, though he lost, had nonetheless helped the Democratic Party advance itself in a fairly solidly red state. Now, the paper wants O’Rourke to do the same thing again, only this time with a win against Republican Sen. John Cornyn.
Presidential campaign floundering
Whether O’Rourke could defeat Cornyn remains unclear — even the Chronicle admitted “it wouldn’t be easy” — but it is a veritable certainty that O’Rourke has essentially no chance whatsoever of earning the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.
Indeed, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, O’Rourke is currently ranked in a distant sixth place among the top candidates, clearly in the third tier with a mere 2.8% support, down from a high water mark of 9.5% in early April. The Chronicle is right to tell O’Rourke to drop out of the presidential race and stay in Texas, though we on the right would also prefer he leave politics altogether, rather than again run for the Senate.