There’s something weird about Democrats: They love losers.
In 2016, they picked former Democratic nomination loser Hillary Clinton as their candidate. She promptly got crushed by a narcissistic reality TV show host by an Electoral College vote of 306-232.
Now — and we swear we aren’t making this up — the Democrats are eyeballing a guy who lost a Senate race in Texas as their go-to candidate for president in 2020.
The mainstream media will tell you the 2018 Texas race was close, oh so close. And it was — if you consider losing by 2.6 percentage points, which equals 214,921 votes, close. How much did Sen. Ted Cruz win by in November? If you filled the NFL’s largest stadium — which happens to be in Dallas, and holds a whopping 105,000 fans — then emptied it, then filled it again, you still wouldn’t reach the margin by which Cruz won. That may not be a world-class thumping, but it’s a pretty sound beating nonetheless.
Still, murmurs are starting around the liberal echosphere that Robert “Beto” O’Rourke — whom the media calls Kennedyesque because he’s young, handsome, white, and really, really rich — might just be the guy to knock off President Trump next time around.
In a straw poll last week of members of MoveOn.org, first obtained by NBC News, the survey put the Texas congressman at 15.6% support, with former Vice President Joe Biden close behind at 14.9% and Sen. Bernie Sanders third at 13.1%.
“It’s another sign of O’Rourke’s surprising popularity among national Democrats and a potentially troubling indication for Sanders, whom MoveOn endorsed in the 2016 Democratic primary. That year, 78% of MoveOn members voted to back Sanders over Hillary Clinton,” NBC reported.
“While the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president remains wide open and MoveOn’s endorsement is up for grabs, MoveOn members and progressives across the country are clear: They’re looking for candidates who will rally voters around a progressive vision of building a country where every American can thrive — whether we’re white, black, or brown, rich or poor,” Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action, told NBC.
On Tuesday, a group calling itself “Draft Beto” officially launched, unveiling its grass-roots campaign to push O’Rourke to run for president in 2020. The group hopes to raise $1 million for a campaign — both to persuade him to run and give him a head start in the primary.
“The comparisons to JFK and even Obama exist for a reason. Beto’s the real deal. His ability to inspire and connect with voters is unparalleled, even among such strong field of presidential contenders,” Nate Lerner, co-founder of Draft Beto and head of its grass-roots team, said in a statement. “The energy we’re seeing this early is absolutely unprecedented as well.”
“America deserves leaders that will work to unite our country based on our shared values of freedom and equality for all. We need a president that will be transparent and accountable; one who will fight to restore integrity to Washington and hope to our nation. I believe Beto O’Rourke embodies these values and can help lead the way to a brighter future for all,” said actor Misha Collins, a Draft Beto co-founder.
And the Texas loser is constantly asked whether he’s running (at a town hall Friday in El Paso, Texas, O’Rourke said he hadn’t made a decision, the Associated Press reported).
The AP also said this: “Past and current advisers to Biden have held frequent conversations about options to alleviate concerns about age, including teaming him with a younger running mate. One option that has been floated, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, is outgoing Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who at 46 has become the subject of intense 2020 speculation after nearly beating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.”
Well, if you consider losing by … (see above).
Biden is like Clinton, only more so — a *two-time* loser for the Democratic nomination. He had to drop out of the 1988 race over plagiarism charges, then bobbed up again 20 years later, only to lose to then-Sen. Barack Obama. But most polls put Biden in the lead so far. A CNN poll earlier this month found Biden drew support from 30% of those surveyed, while Sanders came second with 14% and O’Rourke third with 9%.
So maybe Democrats have it just right: If they don’t go for the two-time losing Biden, they could opt for one-time loser Sanders, who fell to Clinton in 2016. Or they can draft O’Rourke, a loser, sure, but one who hasn’t yet lost on the national field.
But he’s young, there’s plenty of time for that. And he seems to be quite good at it.
* A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.