Reforming The Message: Beto O’Rourke’s Biggest Blind Spot Cost Him Texas. Democrats, Take Note


By Lawrence Lessing
The Guardian (11/11/18)

Yet just below the surface of these moderate gains hides a truth that the Democrats need to understand – and quickly. There is a clear model for victory going forward. It is not the model being promoted by the most active and vocal Democrats just now.

According to the most progressive, the formula for a blue wave is for Democrats everywhere to become more bold and more progressive. The weakness of the party, this faction insists, is that it isn’t extreme enough. What would guarantee victory, these sorts say, is a stronger and more vibrant left. America would rally to the likes of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – if only the Democratic party would give them the chance.

Tuesday is strong evidence that this strategy is just wrong. And exhibit A is the extraordinary candidacy of Beto O’Rourke.

We won’t get anything in America until we fix our corrupted democracy first. And that this is the common ground that could give Democrats a way to speak to a not-yet-progressive America.

If there was a bold progressive in this election (at least one facing an opponent), O’Rourke was that candidate. Twenty-two months ago, O’Rourke launched his campaign as a committed reformer who distinguished himself early on by being one of the first in this cycle to forego money from Pacs. The insiders chuckled at that pledge – what Pac was going to give anything to a Democrat challenging Ted Cruz in Texas? But Americans from across the country were inspired. Tens of thousands gave to his longshot clean-money campaign. And by the end of the cycle, O’Rourke would raise more money than any senatorial candidate in history.