You Bet(o)

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After stating he wouldn't run for President, failed U.S. Senate candidate Robert F. Beto O'Rourke officially threw his name in for the 2020 Democrat nomination.

After achieving rock star status despite his unsuccessful campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018, O'Rourke's presidential candidacy announcement was met with much fanfare.

National Review's Jim Geraghty via his Facebook page:

The last time we did this in 2007-2008, all of the hype and hoopla was for a once-obscure slender guy in his mid-to-late 40s who had been in the legislature for a while, hadn’t been able to get many pieces of legislation passed whether his party was in the majority or minority, who boasted about his across-the-aisle friendships but who had never really defied his party’s orthodoxy, who had little or no executive experience, who could do mundane tasks such as driving or sweating and have them described by political reporters like he was completing the 12 labors of Hercules, who was full of charisma but vague enough in his answers and agenda to be a blank slate to everyone looking for an ideal candidate. Same script, slightly different leading man.

As much as I loathe the hypothetical "if he were a Republican....." scenario, O'Rourke's background would be savaged mercilessly were he on the political right.

Back to Geraghty.

If Beto had an R after his name instead of a D, you’d hear he was boarding-school-attending judge’s son who dodged serious charges for the DUI & burglary, used eminent domain to gentrify poor Latino neighborhoods & married into a billionaire’s family. — Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) March 14, 2019

Given the past two presidents were essentially elected via cults of personality, dismissing O'Rourke as a legitimate contender would be a mistake. And if he is the nominee in 2020, this puts O'Rourke's home state of Texas in play. Even if President Trump won every single solitary state he captured in 2016, excluding Texas, he loses reelection if the Lone Star state goes Democrat for the first time since 1976.

It's going to be interesting to hear how the other Dem candidates frame their lines of attack toward the very formidable O'Rourke.