I really like Beto O’Rourke and I hope that he wins. The stuff he is saying is what a lot more Democrats should be saying, and there are only a few things I would enjoy more in politics than to see Ted Cruz lose and leave the US Senate in disgrace.
However, I have been watching the growing national fascination with O’Rourke’s campaign with increasing concern.
I think this is one of those cases where a local race is being imbued with national significance, and I worry that a lot of left-of-center folks are getting their hopes unreasonably high. O’Rourke seems to be a great candidate, but he is competing against a powerful incumbent in a pretty red state. His campaign is doing well with fundraising, but I wonder how much of that translates to the local enthusiasm that will be necessary for him to win, rather than reflecting out-of-state interest by people who watch a video of him on Facebook or Twitter and are inspired to click on the Donate button.
My fear is that, despite mounting a great insurgent campaign, O’Rourke will end up losing to Cruz for structural reasons and everyone who has gotten so excited at his rise will throw up their hands in despair.
Instead, we should stay excited and look for more opportunities like this. I sincerely hope O’Rourke manages to pull off the upset, but even if he doesn’t, he has shown that Democrats can compete in Texas, and he has forced Cruz and the rest of the Republicans to spend a ton of money and time on a race that they all thought would be an easy win.