On Saturday, the editorial board for the Houston Chronicle called for Beto O’Rourke to drop out of the Presidential race. However, they don’t want the former congressman to quit politics – they want him to run for Senate again to challenge Republican John Cornyn.
The paper called O’Rourke’s chances of winning the presidency “vanishingly small” and said that Texas needs him again. The paper says his raw honesty after the El Paso shooting shows a human side of candidates that people often don’t see.
We keep coming back to a moment last Sunday when, for a few seconds, all the pretenses that are part of running for president in our age of constant exposure were peeled back, if only briefly.
There are times, it seems, in most presidential campaigns when the facades get stripped away like so many layers of paint. What’s left is a human moment, usually fleeting, and not always flattering. But real — and often more telling than a season of advertisements.
Something like that happened last Sunday with O’Rourke, when a news reporter asked O’Rourke whether he felt there was anything President Trump could do to cool the atmosphere of hate toward immigrants.
“Um, what do you think?” O’Rourke responded bluntly. “You know the s*** he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know. … Like, members of the press — what the f***? It’s these questions that you know the answers to …”
Is that language presidential? Not normally. It certainly isn’t the normal fare for an editorial page in the Sunday paper, either, with or without the asterisks. But it struck us as so unscripted, so unexpected that its offense was somehow washed away.
While they aren’t sure if Beto could win, they believe just by running, he’s “brought us closer to having real, competing parties than any other candidate has, and than any candidate on our radar could.”
This seems like a better move for O’Rourke in the long run. It’s unlikely he will continue in the race after the September debates unless there’s a huge momentum shift in his favor.