Updates from the Democratic Primary

Beto O’Rourke is running for president, passing up on an opportunity to win a Senate seat for Democrats.

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke gives a speech in Austin, November 4, 2018
Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke gives a speech in Austin, November 4, 2018 (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
  • Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke is running for president.
  • Ohio senator Sherrod Brown has decided against seeking the Democratic nomination.
  • Former vice president Joe Biden — who still hasn’t declared yet — is ahead in the polls, but that is more about name recognition than anything else at this point. Only geeks like us are paying attention. Most voters don’t start to think about the election until a few months before the Iowa caucuses.
  • Democrats have chosen Milwaukee, Wisconsin to host their 2020 convention.

Why, Beto?

I think O’Rourke’s candidacy is a mistake.

Yes, he came close to defeating Ted Cruz in deep-red Texas. But that is why he should run against John Cornyn, Texas’ other Republican senator, in 2020, not for president.

Now that both O’Rourke and former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, the two most successful Democratic politicians in Texas, are running for president, Cornyn is more likely to win reelection, which makes it more likely that Republicans will defend their majority in the Senate. (Jonathan Bernstein has made the same point.)

Neither Castro nor O’Rourke is the top contender in terms of experience, seniority or bipartisan appeal. Both look more like potential vice presidents. Both are putting their (inflated) personal ambitions over the interest of their party.

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