The Widdershins

Archive for March 19th, 2019

Courtesy of The Hill

Rut-roh, Bernie! There’s a new cult figure on the horizon, and *gasp,* he is YOUNG. And, he raised $200,000 more in 24 hours than you did! Oh my, oh my, what shall you do?

O’Rourke’s total crushed the first day hauls of many of his Democratic competitors and surpassed even that of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the fundraising pace-setter and a far better-known candidate who collected $6 million [actually, he didn’t. He raised $5.9 million] in the first 24 hours of his own campaign. In an email to supporters Monday, the Sanders campaign pointed to O’Rourke’s total and asked for help to “close the gap” before the first Federal Election Commission fundraising deadline.

Oh, but that didn’t happen. Why? Because Beto knew how important this was going to be, and he was ready.

The cash windfall was no accident. O’Rourke began preparing for a robust online fundraising push even before he announced his run for president, alerting top supporters to be ready to solicit contributions from their lists. Once he announced his candidacy on Thursday, the campaign began aggressive texting, email and social media appeals. O’Rourke spent more than $157,000 on Facebook last week, running more than 2,300 — many of them soliciting donations, with the campaign telling donors that “what we raise in the first 24 hours will set the tone in the national conversation about the viability of our campaign.”

Whatever we might think about Beto, he certainly has political savvy – enough to know how to shut up the yelling, pointing, almost-octogenarian Senator Sanders. And now, it looks like at least some of the Powers That Be have decided that Bernie and Beto cannot occupy the same space. The compares and contrasts are starting, first on one of Sanders’ signature slogans – er, policy positions: Medicare for All. Guess what? Beto’s on the right side of this. He favors a plan called Medicare for America,  which outlines a gradual phasing in of single-payer. Not too coincidentally, this concept is also what Our Girl proposed in 2016.

That Democrats are arguing whether their next health care proposal should cover every American in a government plan in a matter of years or a matter of decades shows how far to the left the party’s internal health care debate has shifted. But in a crowded presidential field, these distinctions are going to be treated as meaningful. O’Rourke is allying himself with more mainstream Democrats, setting up a collision with Sanders and the single-payer purists [bolding mine].

That is a good sign for Beto. But there are other, more troubling signs that despite the cash he can raise, he just might not be ready for prime time, especially in the era of #MeToo and the massive infusion of energy, brilliance and joy over 100 female freshman Democrats have brought to the House this year.

Much of the criticism of O’Rourke, while specific to the comments he has made, also revolve around his status as a 40-something white male running in a party increasingly leaning on minorities and women for support.

[snip]

Tracy Sefl, a Democratic consultant who served as a surrogate to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, summed it up by calling it “the tyranny of bro culture.”

“A seasoned campaign professional — a woman— asked me, ‘Is he running for president in this century?’ A question worth asking based on what voters saw over the past several days,” Sefl said.

So, Beto’s shiny and embodies white male privilege. Bernie’s shiny and embodies white male privilege. At the end of the day, which one, if either, will remain standing? I think we’ll find that two shiny objects cannot, in fact, occupy the same space.

This is an open thread.

 


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Dems are coming for ya