Barack Obama may have just given a big boost to those pushing Beto O’Rourke to run for president in 2020, with the former president saying he sees a bit of himself in the failed Texas Senate candidate.
O’Rourke was not able to pull off the upset of Ted Cruz in an unusually tight race this election cycle, but his introduction to the national scene has many hoping that he will ride the momentum from his race into a run for president against Donald Trump. As Newsweek noted, O’Rourke can now count Barack Obama among his fans.
Speaking to his former top adviser David Axelrod for The Axe Files, Obama praised the now-former El Paso congressman as an “impressive young man who ran a terrific race in Texas.” Obama added that O’Rourke seemed more genuine than most modern politicians who only push poll-tested messages.
“The reason I was able to make a connection with a sizable portion of the country was because people had a sense that I said what I meant,” Obama said. “What I oftentimes am looking for first and foremost is, do you seem to mean it?”
In this respect, Obama said he saw a bit of himself in Beto O’Rourke. That has given hope to those pushing to enlist O’Rourke in a run against Trump in two years. As the Hill reported, a number of top Democrats have already expressed a hope that he will keep his message sharp and try to run for president.
“If he wants to run, he should do it,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. “He now has name recognition, a widely successful fundraising operation, a young fresh face with a sprinkling of woke, a cool persona, a new perspective, he speaks Spanish and would be an exciting and upbeat candidate.”
Many were especially excited at how well Beto O’Rourke performed in the normally deep-red Texas. As the race kicked off, many believed that Ted Cruz would coast to victory, but O’Rourke surged in popularity as he crisscrossed the state and ultimately lost by just a little over two points. In doing so, he was able to help boost a number of down-ticket races and helped Democrats make considerable gains in Texas congressional and statewide races. Supporters hope that O’Rourke’s red state appeal could help turn the map against Donald Trump in 2020.
While Barack Obama emphasized that there are a number of Democrats who could be poised to make a run at Donald Trump in 2020, he put Beto O’Rourke in that category.