The 2018 U.S. elections, so-called midterms, launched Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke into the stratosphere. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, O'Rourke managed to break all fundraising records, prompting even individuals like Michael Avenatti to get on the hype train. Dubbed "Betomania," the phenomenon did not result in O'Rourke's victory, as the Democrat lost to Ted Cruz. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm is not dropping.
According to CNN, one of the Democratic Party's most prolific fundraisers, Louis Susman, has pledged to campaign and raise money for O'Rourke, who appears to be eyeing a 2020 presidential run. A number of other former President Barack Obama's donors appear to be hopping aboard the "Betomania" train as well, as they vow to donate substantial amounts of money to the Texas Democrat. CNBC reports that O'Rourke has met with Obama's operatives, and even the former president himself, reportedly earning his endorsement.
But one group of Democrats appears unfazed by the O'Rourke phenomenon, and continues to warn against the dangers of "Betomania." According to a BuzzFeed News report published today, a number of progressive activists and operatives linked to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are urging the Democratic Party to hit the pause button.
"All we're saying is, can we pause? Can we have a primary? Or can we look under the hood a little bit before saying he's the choice?" Melissa Byrne, a Sanders campaign alumnus, told the publication.
But it is not only Byrne that has reservations about the Texas centrist. The "NeverBeto" hashtag is reportedly spreading over progressive Twitter, as activists and Bernie Sanders supporters warn against Beto's flaws in the context of a 2020 presidential run. Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Brueing explained in a December 5 op-ed that that progressives "can't get excited" about Beto O'Rourke because he doesn't seem to support medicare for all and free college, and because his "statements on energy have been surprisingly thin." Beto is "a lot like Obama," according to Brueing, who argues that the Democrats need a leftist, progressive candidate to beat Trump in 2020.In a column published a day after Brueing's, New York Post writer Maureen Callahan wrote that Beto O'Rourke is the "perfect candidate" for the Democrats, if they want to lose.
"Nothing has been learned from Hillary Clinton," she wrote, arguing that O'Rourke -- despite the hype -- managed to lose to "the most loathed senator in modern American history." Callahan opined that O'Rourke is believing "his own hype," concluding that the Texas Democrat is "simply another politician."
"He paints this picture of being open and bold but then he doesn't support free college, which pushes his policy years behind some moderates," Melissa Byrne explained to BuzzFeed News, adding that there isn't a coordinated effort on the left to critique O'Rourke. "People are seeing this on their own," she said.