Republican consultant Mattie Duppler says that Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has a “significant advantage” over other possible Democratic 2020 candidates for president.
But because the charismatic Texan won’t have another job, his schedule will be clear if he does decide to take a shot at the presidency, and this could really help him.
On this point Duppler said:
“Beto has a significant advantage in the sense that he will no longer be an elected politician. But Bernie Sanders and the rest of the bench, all of these senators running for president in 2020, they actually have to take hard votes, they have to keep the government open, they have to fund priorities that may not be in line with the progressive platform.”
Duppler also pointed out that O’Rourke might be a very strong alternative to other potential progressive candidates such as Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris or Cory Booker.
“Republicans, we always had this issue with each person running for president want to be more conservative than the other conservative — Beto will be the most progressive guy out there because he won’t have to take any votes in the Senate that Sanders, Warren, Booker and Harris may have to take,” she said.
O’Rourke ran an amazing campaign in the biggest red state, and in doing so he grabbed the national spotlight. He received unprecedented amounts of media attention while also raising record amounts of money. Both of these things are prerequisites for becoming president.
He came within 2.7 percentage points of unseating an incumbent Republican in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat in a statewide office in more than two decades.
And now he has people coming out of the woodwork asking him to run for president — and he is seriously thinking about it.
The ruggedly good looking young congressman from El Paso showed an impressive ability to rally the state’s Democratic base in a way that has never been done before.
The way he inspired crowds and drew thousands of supporters to his campaign has been bringing comparisons to former President Barack Obama.
“That ability to make people feel invested in his campaign and his story does remind me of Obama ‘08,” said Obama’s former speechwriter David Litt. In 2020 O’Rourke will be just one year older than Obama was when he ran in 2008.
Duppler said she is not surprised that Democrats are excited about O’Rourke’s potential presidential bid. She said that she believes he would offer a fresh face to the Democratic ticket, which would be a stark contrast to other veterans such as Sanders, Warren, and Joe Biden. Some polls have shown that many Democratic primary voters want “new faces” in 2020.
“I think Beto has all of those characteristics of Barack Obama where he’s young, enthusiastic, a new shot in the arm, especially when you’re looking at people like Bernie Sanders,” Duppler said.
Many people, however, are saying that there is one key difference between Obama and O’Rourke: Obama won his Senate race before winning the Democratic nomination in 2008, while O’Rourke lost.
But we should remember that in 1858 a candidate for the Senate also lost, and then became president two years later, winning a close 1860 election. Maybe Beto O’Rourke should not be compared to Barack Obama but instead to this other man, who went on to become one of America’s greatest presidents: Abraham Lincoln.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.