Former Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke is often mentioned as a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, but it seems he has his eyes on a different job — and he may already have been offered his dream position.
On Tuesday, O'Rourke told journalists, at a gathering El Paso, Texas, that he's still open to considering a presidential campaign or a Senate challenge, even though he's well behind other candidates who have already formed up exploratory committees and hired staff, and who are regularly visiting early primary states. But he also mentioned in passing that he may be interested in the vice president slot, if the right opportunity came along.
"I'm going to consider every way to serve this country. And, yes, that will include anything," O'Rourke told the gathered crowd, according to NBC News. It "may involve running for the presidency," he said when asked, or "it may involve something else."
The "something else" seems to be a job as running mate.
It may be Beto's best hope; after losing his Texas Senate race to incumbent Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), O'Rourke took an extended absence from the public eye, citing the "exhaustion" of running a statewide campaign. He posted a handful of Instagram videos, including one of himself at the dentist, but failed to follow up on his nearly successful bid by fundraising for his future endeavors.
O'Rourke was expected to announce his intention to run for president during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in a special taped late last month, but, reportedly, O'Rourke had the same cagey response: that he has yet to decide what the rest of his political career looks like.
The lack of fortitude has, no doubt, made some Democrats question whether Beto would be up for a national campaign. Candidates with presidential aspirations need to make their intentions known early in off-year elections, particularly when they're in the challenging party. The field is already crowded, and only expected to grow.
Beto says he hopes to have reached a decision in "the next ten days."
If he's looking to be vice president, his dream job is likely open to him. According to Marketwatch, Joe Biden — who has yet to enter the race himself, but who is leading the pack in nearly every poll in every early primary state — had his aides reach out to O'Rourke late last year with the possibility of a Biden-Beto ticket.
"Advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a White House run of his own, said in December that they’d approached O’Rourke’s camp about his being a vice presidential candidate. O’Rourke said then that he’d not spoken to Biden, and his camp hasn’t dismissed the idea since," the outlet reported.
The mashup makes sense: O'Rourke would provide a more progressive facet to an otherwise mostly moderate Joe Biden campaign. Although Biden was a key part of the Obama White House, his legislative history goes back decades, and is often at odds with the level of "wokeness" the Democratic Party now expects from its candidates.
Beto also offers a home-grown perspective on what promises to be one of 2020's key issues: illegal immigration. Although he is not Hispanic ("Beto" is apparently a common contraction of "Roberto" in Texas, regardless of background), he is fluent in Spanish, from a border town, and further left than most candidates when it comes to interdiction (he actually told his El Paso audience Tuesday that he'd tear down the existing border wall rather than simply prevent new construction).
There's a key drawback to a Biden-Beto ticket, though: they'd be a white male-only ticket facing off with an increasingly diverse group of Democrats. An all-male ticket would, of course, be a backslide, given that a woman topped the Democratic ticket in 2016, and it would be no match for identity politics experts, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), likely Biden's top competitor.