OPINION: Beto Should Pick a Race he can Win
In the last 24 hours I’ve been informed…OFF the record…that former El Paso representative and U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke WILL run against Greg Abbott for Texas governor next year.
Since this was off-the-record, I can’t reveal my source. I CAN say, however, that it’s not from Beto himself.
As I covered earlier this week, a Dallas Morning News poll has Governor Abbott’s approval at a new low of 41%. The same poll has Beto, as a hypothetical candidate, running at 37%. That’s likely close enough to convince O’Rourke that he has a chance of unseating the two-term republican governor.
I think, though, Beto would be wise to reconsider.
The LAST thing you want to become as a politician is (duhn,duhn, DUHN) a “Perennial Candidate”. You get the dreaded moniker of “perennial candidate” whenever you run and lose three times in a row or more. Perennial Candidates in American history run the gamut from serious people (Alan Keyes, Eugene Debs) to the unelectable (David Duke, Lyndon LaRouche) and even “joke” candidates (Pat Paulsen, Vermin Supreme). The thing they have in common? They all lost enough that nobody takes them seriously (if they ever did).
Beto is already 0-2 since giving up his seat in congress in 2018. He ran against Ted Cruz for U.S. Senator in a race much closer than many imagined. He was part of the multitudinous field of Democratic candidates for President in 2020. Another loss against a Texas republican would nudge him into Perennial Candidate territory. There’s a certain weightiness to the number 3. “Three time loser”. “Third times a charm”. “Three strikes, you’re out”. Even if you’re capable and qualified (which I think Beto is) it’s hard to shake the perception of being a “loser” once you’ve got it. Add to that the fact that complete WACKOS (Marjorie Taylor Green, who just this week was sharing blown-up, poster-sized memes on the floor of the House of Representatives jumps to mind) are actually WINNING elections, and it make the stigma of LOSING all that more damaging.
I think Beto needs to be very careful. If he doesn’t actually have a better-than-good chance of winning, I think he’s better off biding his time until something winnable comes along.
And, just to save you some time writing the comments, YES…I’m already aware that Abraham Lincoln was on a four-campaign losing streak when he was elected president.
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