Beto O’Rourke democrats elizabeth warren politics

Baba O’Riley.

And so, Beto is ascendant.

Back in December, when Elizabeth Warren formally launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 run at the White House, we (somewhat harshly) critiqued the messaging in her video announcement.

Specifically, we suggested Warren was at risk of fostering the same kind of divisive politics that Donald Trump thrives on – of pouring gas on the fire, so to speak. Warren’s message about the state of America’s working class echoes Trump’s as do the bombastic (if accurate) terms she uses to describe the plight of everyday citizens.

“[Some] who work hard slip through the cracks into disaster”, Warren lamented in the first video of what has since morphed into an official 2020 campaign. She went on to describe the situation as “terrifying.”

As we wrote in December, Warren’s message rings true, but it’s couched in the exact same kind of populist rhetoric that got Trump elected and that found expression in his insane “American carnage” inauguration speech.

Read more

Elizabeth Warren Kicks Of 2020 Presidential Bid By Accidentally Echoing Trump’s ‘American Carnage’ Spiel

Since that post was published, virtually every mainstream media outlet in America has remarked on the same potential problem with her candidacy – namely that try as she might to soften the messaging, Warren is a fighter, first and foremost. Her reputation for bulldogging CEOs during congressional testimony is the stuff of legend and generally speaking, she comes across as someone who will likely lash out furiously when goaded by Trump (indeed, we’ve already seen this movie thanks to the “Pocahontas” debacle).

Critically, many of the other 14-dozen (that’s a rough estimate using our proprietary trackers) people vying for the Democratic ticket have adopted a similarly confrontational tone, at least as it relates to Trump. And while that’s admirable, it’s not entirely clear that “fighting fire with fire” is the best strategy right now, considering how much of Trump’s appeal resides in stoking conflict, division and animosity.

Additionally, this probably isn’t a scenario where he can be “beat at his own game”, as it were. We are, after all, talking about a man who just spent his entire weekend tweeting insults at a dead US senator, accusing Google of conspiring with the Chinese military, spreading blog posts written by conspiracy theorists, demanding Fox News bring back an anchor who was suspended for a wild anti-Muslim rant aimed at a sitting US congresswoman and implicitly threatening to bring the weight of his office to bear on General Motors if the company didn’t “do something” to ameliorate the closure of an Ohio plant.

So, what’s the plan? In the above-linked post on Warren, we suggested that Beto O’Rourke could likely beat Trump. Biden, we remarked, could probably win, but the campaign would be couched in terms of absurd pretensions to machismo. That is, it would be cartoonish and has the potential to accelerate America’s descent into farce. Additionally, Biden comes with baggage that’s potentially exploitable although his track record as a public servant isn’t in dispute.

Beto, then, emerges as the only candidate capable of creating the kind of unstoppable wave – the electoral fervor – that could rival the fanaticism of Trump’s base.

Since then, Beto has of course joined the race, after a painfully-long decision process. On Monday, his campaign announced that it raised $6.1 million in one day, “without a dime” from PACs, corporations or special interests, according to a spokesman.

Notably, that is more than Bernie Sanders raised in his first 24 hours, no small feat, as Sanders’s one-day haul ($5.9 million) was front-page news late last month.

By comparison, Kamala Harris raised just $1.5 million in her first day and Elizabeth Warren received $300,000 on New Year’s Eve (her campaign did not disclose the full one-day tally). Beto’s one-day haul is twice the combined figure raised by Amy Klobuchar, Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper in their first two days.

“In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us, for all of us, that answers not to the PACs, corporations, and special interests but to the people,” Beto said, in a statement.

What this also “proves”, is that the ridiculous $80 million he raked in during his ultimately unsuccessful run at Ted Cruz’s senate seat last year was not a fluke. Here is The Washington Post putting this into context:

  • It’s nearly 8 percent of the total amount he raised in his record-setting Senate campaign ($79.1 million). O’Rourke pulled in $38 million in the third quarter of 2018, also a record.
  • It’s nearly as much as President Trump raised in all of 2015 ($6.6 million), after getting in the campaign in June. (Trump largely relied on self-funding.)
  • It’s more than the following 2016 GOP candidates raised for their entire campaigns: Rick Perry ($1.3 million), Lindsey O. Graham ($4.9 million), Bobby Jindal ($1.2 million), Rick Santorum ($1.9 million), Mike Huckabee ($4.2 million). It’s also getting close to what Chris Christie ($8.6 million) and Scott Walker ($9.3 million) raised for their whole campaigns. On the Democratic side, it’s about as much as Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley raised in total ($6.3 million).
  • It’s nearly one-quarter of what both Hillary Clinton ($26 million) and Barack Obama ($25 million) raised in the entire first quarter of 2007 — the comparable period to this one for the 2008 race. Both entered the campaign in January, giving themselves more than two full months to raise those totals.

Yeah – “big league” to quote a certain reality TV show host.

As you’re probably aware, Beto has been literally driving around Iowa and Wisconsin in an actual minivan, which, God willing, will eventually make it all the way to New Hampshire. On Sunday evening, we gently suggested he was taking this a bit too far in an effort to duplicate his famous “Baba O’Riley” air drums moment:

That tweet was before we knew how much Beto had raised. Apparently, we were mistaken to suggest he’s trying too hard.

As Bloomberg’s John McCormick points out, O’Rourke is taking a different approach to Trump than the rest of the crowded Democratic field.

“Campaigning across Iowa and Wisconsin during the weekend as a newly minted 2020 presidential candidate, O’Rourke frequently talked about his willingness to cooperate with those of differing political stripes, echoing the sort of calls former President Barack Obama made during his 2008 campaign for political civility that became elusive during his tenure”, McCormick wrote Monday, adding that “the Texan’s approach contrasts with some other Democratic presidential candidates who have been highly critical of Trump and Republicans in general [and] also risks making him look like someone who won’t throw punches at a time his party is searching for a candidate who can compete against Trump’s street-fighting style on a debate stage, Twitter and elsewhere.”

Right. But maybe that’s just what America needs in a Democratic candidate. Because “competing” against Trump’s “street-fighting style” isn’t really possible considering the president is someone who doesn’t just relish in low blows, but is in fact willing to slander entire ethnic groups, marginalize people based solely on religion, lampoon those with disabilities on national television, encourage violence against the free press and just generally urinate all over anybody and everybody (figuratively, for now) in the course of undermining the very foundation of American democracy.

Underscoring the abject futility in trying to out-Trump Trump was, well, Trump, who tweeted the following on Monday while staging a dubious encore to his weekend Twitter shenanigans:

Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for President. Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!

The irony there is that Trump can scarcely get through 140 characters without spelling something wrong and he’s been variously described by his cabinet (behind closed doors and at private events) as a “moron” with “the intelligence of a kindergartner“.

But there again, that’s why “fighting fire with fire” won’t work with Trump. You can’t get into an insult contest with a man who, despite knowing he has a reputation for being a world-class idiot, has the nerve to call a former Vice President “a low I.Q. individual!”

Incidentally, Trump once challenged Tillerson to an “IQ test”, although as far as anyone knows, Rex never took him up on it.

Ultimately, it looks as though our prediction from December has come to fruition when it comes to who the frontrunner for the Democratic ticket is likely to be by the time it’s all said and done (his somewhat bizarre former life as a hacker notwithstanding).

So far, Trump has only jabbed at Beto (once during their dueling El Paso rallies and once last week).

You can expect that to change.

Here’s a preview of what’s coming (from the El Paso event):

10 comments on “Baba O’Riley.

  1. He is the front runner but even teflon wears in the end. . .”South Bend Pete” could take it and I’d like that more.

  2. I don’t know enough about any of the Democratic candidates, but Beto is interesting. A Beto-AOC ticket, talk about the potential to catch lightning in a bottle. You wanna beat down trump, you bring a girl from the boogie down Bronx.

    The last 2 presidents were outsiders, and Beto has serious outsider cred.

    • AOC isn’t old enough to be on the ticket. You need to be 35 (to be prez or veep). She’s only 29 and would only be 30, 31 when the election rolls around. She’ll have to wait toll 2024.

  3. Harvey Cotton

    Hillary Clinton was the worst candidate in the history of candidates. She lost to an unknown black guy named Barack Hussein Obama and needed everything in the bag to beat a 80 year old Jewish Socialist that reminds people of Doc Brown. And despite this, she only lost to Donald Trump because of the combination of arcane election laws, voter suppression, and a statistical fluke in three states. Any Democrat would beat Trump if he survives his first term (in both senses of the word) and would drumroll Pence. The important thing is choosing wisely in the primaries…(TulSea and Sanders…this guy gets it)

  4. Slim Charles

    “…has the nerve to call a former Vice President “a low I.Q. individual!”

    This is lazy logic. Trump’s the current Pres and you called him an idiot in the same sentence. Biden’s intelligence isn’t unassailable just because he attached himself to a Pres once. Apply that to Trump with his current office and see where it gets you…

    It’s actually pretty clear that both JB and DT are “low IQ individuals” regardless of their credentials. Only ignorance or hopeless bias could keep somebody from acknowledging that. I love your market insights, Heis, but this kind of hubris WILL get Trump re-elected if doubled down upon.

    • Anyone who suggests that Donald Trump is as intelligent as Joe Biden is about as intelligent as Donald Trump. How’s that logic for you?

      • Point is, these kinds of implicit defenses of Trump in the face of what you claim is “bias” and “hubris” are nonsense and you know it just as well as I know it just as well as everyone in America with any shred of sense knows it. Trump is a disaster, this administration is a train wreck and he will in fact go down in history as the president who tried to turn America into an autocracy.

        further, he wasn’t “elected”. he didn’t win the popular vote and we all know that irrespective of whether there was technical “collusion” (whatever that even means), he was bolstered by an all-out right-wing agitprop campaign, amplified by foreign influence on popular social media outlets. those are facts. Facebook and Twitter have told us as much and they’ve shown us the actual ads and given us the actual numbers.

        finally, these kinds of comments (“I love your market insights Heis but”), miss one critical point: I was formally trained in political science before I was trained in anything to do with business and/or economics and/or finance. I am a university-trained political scientist. Not just some random guy giving you his political opinion.

        all of that – each and every bit of it – is fact. if you want pretend like there is some grey area or ambiguity involved, then by all means, tell yourself what you need to tell yourself to get by. but this just it was it is.

        • Slim Charles

          Appreciate the reply and won’t remark on my own intelligence. I’m not trying to hit you or anyone else with a polemic here so sorry if my comment came off that way. To clarify, I’m saying that I tend to agree more with your takes on markets and less with your political philosophy (or at least what I perceive it to be). That just is what it is and doesn’t stop me from reading any of your writings, nor has it led me to make assumptions about your qualifications in either area.

          As far as Biden goes, irrespective of how he stacks up against Trump, he graduated in the 27th percentile of his UD class and in the 7th percentile from law school. I view academic performance as a decent gauge of intelligence but acknowledge that it’s not definitive. I also will never forget how uninformed and slow he appeared in the VP debate leading up to 2012, but again that’s subjective.

          I’m pretty passionately against being dismissive of Donald Trump. I disagree with him on policy and think he is stupid and unethical, but he was elected. The popular vote has nothing to do with this fact as it plays no role in electing the U.S. President. Whether it should is a different and effectively irrelevant question. Furthermore, the right-wing agitprop campaign is only relevant to the extent that it would not have succeeded without foreign influence. Propaganda right, left, and center is and always has been a licit part of American campaigning and use of it on Trump’s part or the part of any of his supporters does not discredit his election. True, we know that foreign powers interfered. We also know that they sought to tip the election in Trump’s favor. I have not, however, seen evidence that their efforts were necessary for Trump to be elected. If this evidence is yet available, please point it out to me. I’m not inclined to believe it simply because “everyone knows it.”

          • You clearly have no idea how the right-wing propaganda machine works and how effective it’s been in the post-2015 world.

            You’re reading it even when you don’t know you’re reading it. I could give you at least two hilarious examples of that, but in the interest of not stirring the pot, I’ll just leave it there, other than to simply add that my “political philosophy” is largely centered around an absolute disdain for racism, an aversion to making religion a part of public policymaking and a bias towards liberal ideals because, frankly, the conservative party has become a religious personality cult. Not sure what there is to “not agree” with there unless you’re into religious personality cults.

          • Slim Charles

            For the record, I’m not at all religious and am a registered Democrat. I detest personality cults.

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