Former congressman Rep. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke, erstwhile epicenter of the left-wing media's (but I repeat myself) constellation, has officially declared his intention to seek the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination.
It is not immediately clear why he is doing so. O'Rourke was an irrelevant backbencher during his three unremarkable terms in the House. To the (very limited) extent he was known for anything substantive at all, it was probably his being rabidly anti-Israel. So couple in some de facto shilling for Hamas and Hezbollah with a little bit of a punk rock ambience, and apparently you've got the most prolific Democratic Senate candidate ever. Good to know what the Left values most these days. But hey, at least leftists are apparently willing to donate to a generic multimillionaire Irish-American white dude, I suppose.
I have not met a single leftist who actually trusts O'Rourke. "Oil money," some shriek. "Not trustworthy on immigration," some (oddly) claim. Whatever. Perhaps O'Rourke is on a campaign to Make Skateboarding Great Again™️. Perhaps O'Rourke is on a campaign to normalize DWIs for America's impressionable youth. Perhaps he just gets a tingle up his spine by knowing that he, and he alone, is the cherished candidate of choice for what National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke artfully dubs our "[v]ain, languid, excitable, morbid, duplicitous, cheap, insular, [and] mawkish" press.
And to the extent O'Rourke has any core supporters outside our most lamentable fourth estate, they are not exactly the poster children of the current intersectional moment.
O'Rourke has no real chance. Large swaths of the Left are already over him — as Erick Erickson notes today, many leftists are still peeved over the way O'Rourke stole away cash and attention in 2018 from more intersectional candidates like Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia. But don't just take it from me or Erick.
Prediction market site PredictIt.org has O'Rourke as the third choice right now behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (Communist - VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden. Indeed, PredictIt has O'Rourke slightly ahead of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
But PredictIt is off the mark here. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have to be considered the two frontrunners right now.
Hold aside that Biden has not formally entered the fray yet — he probably will do so. But Biden simply has too much baggage, in the current environment. Who in their right mind thinks that
coquettish creepy "Uncle Joe" is a good fit for the current #MeToo moment? Who in their right mind thinks that Biden's formerly held views on race and crime won't come back to destroy him in the minds of the increasingly dominant hard left faction of the Democratic base? Biden has simply been in the national spotlight for too long, and has too long a track record to cleanly avoid opposition research-driven scrutiny. And, amazingly, the man who once tag-teamed with Ted Kennedy to vilely savage Robert Bork's judicial career is almost assuredly now too "moderate" for the batcrap crazy hard Left.
As for O'Rourke? Well, see above. He has no lane. He has no niche. And his candidacy ultimately serves no purpose other than to make a bunch of pearl-clutching New York Times-reading Upper West Side progressives feel good about themselves.
That leaves Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris. Bernie, the Sandinista-supporting, "hammer and sickle" flag-waving, Soviet Union-honeymooning Marxist, will take on the heir apparent to Barack Obama's identity politics coalition of variegated aggrieved interest groups. It will be a battle royale for the heart and soul of the Left. The Orwellian "economic justice" class warfare wing will go to battle against the Orwellian "social justice" identitarian warfare wing. Democratic voters will have to assess whether they care more about economically totalitarian illiteracy or intellectually totalitarian crass divisiveness. What a choice!
Whereas the Clintonian establishment might have once been able to field a formidable challenger, the modern Democratic Party has long since crossed the Rubicon whereby its inmates are running the asylum. This is a political party, after all, that refuses to condemn (actual) infanticide, refuses to confront (actual) Jew-hatred, and ardently promotes incoherent, money-grows-on-trees proposals that seek an end to the dreaded scourge of bovine flatulence.
This is the modern Democratic Party.
Perhaps it will even be fun to watch. The only two losers? Sanity — and the American republic.