On Wednesday I broke the news on my social media channels that Barack Obama had endorsed several Democrats for the upcoming midterm elections. Among those endorsed is Veronica Escobar. Noticeably absent on the Obama endorsement list is Beto O’Rourke running against Ted Cruz for the Texas Senate seat. I called it breaking news because, although, the absence of the Beto endorsement had significant news coverage across the country, El Paso’s news outlets seem to be oblivious to the lack of an endorsement for O’Rourke from the former Democratic president.
The Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke election is a marquee race across the nation because Texas, a “red state,” seems to be in play and because of the idea that a “blue wave” may come in November. For El Paso, an El Paso candidate challenging a long-time Texas Republican makes the race the only race that matters for El Pasoans on the national stage. That El Paso could be a player on the national political stage by leading a “blue wave” makes the Cruz-O’Rourke the race to talk about in the city.
There is so much national attention on Beto O’Rourke that his name is mentioned daily on political radio and cable news outlets. Even the Ellen Show had Beto on.
According to USA Today, by October 1, 2018, Barack Obama has endorsed about 350 Democratic candidates across the nation. Also, on October 1, NPR said over 300 candidates have been endorsed by Obama. And yet, among all those endorsements, Beto O’Rourke’s name is missing. More importantly, the local news media seems oblivious to it.
It’s not as if the national media hasn’t noticed. Newsweek pointed out that Obama had endorsed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but not O’Rourke. That was on October 1. Even Fox News pointed this out on the same day. The Houston Chronicle and The Daily Beast also made this a point in their coverage.
On Wednesday, The Texas Tribune pointed out that Barack Obama was “noticeably quiet on the O’Rourke Senate” race, arguing that it was likely because “the former president’s stamp of approval might not play well for undecided voters in Texas.”
On October 2, The Hill quoted Democratic strategist, Adam Hodge as saying that Beto “doesn’t need former President Barack Obama’s endorsement in his Senate campaign because the candidate has already established ‘his own brand’ among the voters in the state.”
In other words, across the country and among both political parties, the lack of an endorsement by Obama for O’Rourke is a topic of discussion, except in El Paso.
Somehow the news that Barack Obama did not endorse Beto O’Rourke has not made the El Paso news cycles. The question is why?
I previously posted that Beto O’Rourke’s run for the Senate is part of the plan to position him for a presidential race. (The Beto Plan for President, September 19)
That post has generated a considerable amount of attention over the last few days. In that post I pointed out that Beto wasn’t in the race to win but was just using it for national attention. But, a congruence of events, the so-called “blue-wave” and Donald Trump dynamically changed the race and O’Rourke was suddenly in contention. I also pointed out that Beto is a Democrat in name only.
The catalyst for my original post was that the El Paso Times had decided to make an issue about a Ted Cruz video that had very little traction at the time. I pointed out that the Times was trying to protect the carefully created image that Beto O’Rourke has been cultivating since the decision for his presidential race was made by his father-in-law, William “Bill” Sanders years ago.
Taking my points about the Times running cover for O’Rourke and adding them to my contention that O’Rourke is a liberal/Democrat in label only, it then makes perfect sense why Obama did not endorse him.
The national political strategists and some commentators on my social media have argued that the lack of an Obama endorsement is nothing more than Obama protecting Beto’s multi-party engagement strategy to get Republican votes for the Senate race.
Regardless of the reasons, the lack of El Paso news coverage demonstrates that the local news media is protecting O’Rourke’s image. It could also be the result of the ineptitude of the El Paso news directors, or both.
I believe my original premise is further strengthened by this latest development. Blaming the lack of local coverage on ineptitude ignores the fundamental fact that I alerted the El Paso Times and KVIA through Twitter days earlier and that the national media, including the Times’ owners have pointed out the lack of endorsement. Thus my contention remains that the local news media is still trying to protect Beto.