Democratic voters in Texas might have a better read on the political landscape at hand than their home-grown presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, GQ reports. According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, voters would rather O’Rourke run to replace Republican Senator John Cornyn in 2020.
As detailed in the Houston Chronicle, 60 percent of around 400 Democratic-leaning voters polled said they would rather see O’Rourke take on Cornyn than run for president. The poll asked 1,159 voters overall and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points overall and plus or minus 5.8 percentage points for Democrats and Democratic-leaners.
Those in favor of an O’Rourke Senate run point out that he only narrowly lost his previous Senate race to Ted Cruz, which is a substantial accomplishment for a Democrat in the deeply red state of Texas. Running in 2020, he would face Cornyn, who is substantially less popular in the state than Cruz.
Political analysts point out that even if a Democrat does defeat President Donald Trump in 2020, Democrats as a whole will face an extremely challenging environment in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already been open about his intention to do whatever he can to maintain control in the Senate, including decimating the traditional norms once central to the Senate’s operation.
As long as that is the case, even a popular Democratic president bolstered by a continued majority in the House of Representatives could have a hard time advancing any meaningful agenda without the cooperation of the Senate. With an extremely crowded field of Democratic primary contenders, many of the big names in the party who could potentially tip the scales in their own favor are otherwise occupied with presidential runs rather than Senate seats.
On top of that, O’Rourke simply isn’t polling very well in the primary, particularly in Texas. According to Quinnipiac, former vice president Joe Biden remains comfortably on top of the leaderboard with 30 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters supporting him in the crowded field of primary contenders. Some analysts have pointed out that in states like Texas, where primaries are open and don’t require party affiliation to vote, someone like O’Rourke could perform better than the Democrat-focused primary polls suggest. Still, he remains only a distant second to Biden even in his home state.
Of course whether Biden will be able to maintain his position, even as the debates begin and the contest heats up in earnest, remains to be seen.