Former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke was once heralded by the predominantly liberal establishment media, but his campaign has largely fallen flat in recent weeks. Indeed, after peaking at about 9.5% support among voters in early April, the RealClearPolitics average of polls currently ranks O’Rourke in a distant sixth place among the top candidates with a mere 2.8% support at present.
The reality of O’Rourke’s increasingly infinitesimal chance at winning the Democratic nomination has prompted a growing number of voices on the left — including the liberal editorial board of the Houston Chronicle — to urge the former congressman to drop out of the presidential race and set his sights a little bit lower, such as on another run for a Senate seat in Texas.
El Paso flashpoint
The Chronicle‘s op-ed focused on O’Rourke’s reaction to the recent tragic mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, that left 22 dead and dozens more wounded in what appeared to be a racially-motivated attack. Unsurprisingly, the media and the left quickly attempted to blame President Donald Trump and his purportedly anti-immigrant rhetoric for what occurred.
O’Rourke — who placed his campaign on hold in the aftermath of the event — was at the forefront of those casting blame on the president for the shooting, and he did so repeatedly and in as loud and explicit a fashion as he could in front of any camera he could find.
In one example highlighted by the board, O’Rourke was asked by a reporter on the day after the attack if he believed that President Trump was responsible for the shooting and if there was anything Trump could do to “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,” O’Rourke replied.
He went on: “I don’t know… Like, members of the press — what the f***? It’s these questions that you know the answers to…”
“Texas needs you”
The editorial board at the Chronicle admitted that such language was not normal for a presidential candidate or even a newspaper, but nevertheless excused the “offense” due to it being an “unscripted” human moment that showed O’Rourke could act like a real person, something not all politicians are capable of doing.
“Frankly, it’s made us wish O’Rourke would shift gears, and rather than unpause his presidential campaign, we’d like to see him take a new direction,” the board wrote.
The editors added: “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 board cited O’Rourke’s “inspiring” run in 2018 against Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and though he failed in that effort, encouraged him to mount a similar challenge against Sen. John Cornyn, a contest the board estimated could be won, even as they cautioned that it wouldn’t be easy.
While it is far from a certainty that O’Rourke will even accept that advice from the Houston Chronicle, much less actually defeat Sen. Cornyn, we can’t help but concur that America would be better off as a whole if “Beto” dropped out of the 2020 race and would go further to assert that he might want to consider leaving politics altogether.