Unless you lived under a rock during Tuesday’s midterms you know that Beto is the rising star in politics. Beto – as he has branded himself – came close to unseating Ted Cruz and turning Texas blue. Beto O’Rourke had his best outcome on Tuesday, although he lost.
As we discussed in a previous post (link), Beto was running for the Senate seat to put himself in position to run for president. Beto was after national attention and he surpassed even his wildest expectations. His father-in-law, who told several people in an El Paso meeting several years ago that he was going to launch Beto for president, could not have imagined how successful the Beto run for Senate ended up being.
But he lost, how is that the best outcome for Beto?
The strategy was to give Beto a national platform to develop a national brand for his political future. El Paso is not exactly known as the place that creates people capable of running for president. Even in Texas, El Paso is the backwaters of Texas politics. Yet Beto – the El Paso dream for national recognition – remains on the hunt for the White House.
In their wildest dreams, Beto’s run for the Cruz seat would not have been as successful as it is. Losing to Ted Cruz, as he did, was the perfect end to the strategy to get Beto into the White House.
First and foremost, Beto has the national recognition of a serious contender for national office. Serious politicos are asking if he is running for president. He is, but is playing coy for now.
The unofficial results show that Beto is about 223,000 votes shy of the win. With over 8 million votes cast, the loss has less than a 3% margin. This is, despite, running out of El Paso with little to no political legacy and running as a Democrat in one of the reddest states in the union.
El Paso readers should note that Texas voter participation was about 53%. In El Paso, Beto’s home base, the voter turnout was a lackluster 44%. About 253,000 El Paso voters did not cast a vote. Assuming a 100% turnout – which granted is unrealistic – Beto could have beat Cruz just by El Paso votes alone, assuming the 74% to 25% El Paso breakdown. As for Texas, there are about 15 million registered voters. There were about 7 million Texans who did not cast a vote.
Beto proved he can compete nationally, and not only compete but be competitive.
Politics in America requires money – lots of it – and the ability to create a brand that attracts voters.
Ignored by many political pundits discussing the “Beto effect” is that Beto has laid the framework for the future of politics. Beto knows and understands technology. He launched a technology firm in El Paso – Stanton Street – that not only lead in innovative technology when social media was unknown, but he also developed a news outlet – also named Stanton Street – that set the platform needed to organize a posse of Beto evangelists to persuade voters. Beto knows how to mobilize and cultivate evangelists.
Beto caught the Ted Cruz Campaign flatfooted and nearly beat him not because of Beto’s political acumen, but because Beto took his decades-long expertise in technology and grassroots mobilization through social media and launched a Beto posse that is the future of politics.
Beto not only has a large war chest, but he has hundreds of national evangelists at his beck-and-call ready to mobilize voters to the polls. As if that wasn’t enough, Beto has his father-in-law, Bill Sanders, a multi-millionaire whose dream is to see his son-in-law at the White House. Sanders not only has the money to fund the dream, but he has national connections needed to help Beto along the political road.
There are some who underestimate the factor that Bill Sander’s money and connections has on Beto’s viability. But the second most searched for Beto-related term on Google is his wife. The reason is that Sander’s is Beto’s father-in-law and political pundits want to know why Beto was so competitive.
Beto now has the momentum for feeding independent-seeking and hungry dreamers looking to put into office someone who does not have the traditional political pedigree that many of the young blame for the failure of politics.
The future of politics is social media. Donald Trump proved this. Beto expertly perfected it. It bypasses the gatekeepers of political experts and news media filters that hamper non-traditional politicos.
Now that Beto has lost to Cruz, but in the process created groupies at his beck-and-call and perfected his technology mechanisms, he can focus the next two years, or six years to perfect his national brand. Without the Senate seat, Beto can continued to manufacture his mystic without the baggage of a legislative record.
Remember that Beto has developed a brand around himself based on being the non-traditional but stable politico that is not too far to either side. And he knows how to leverage that through his posse of evangelists salivating on his brand. Without having to make a living to pay bills, Beto has the next two years to continue to perfect his mystic and encourage his followers with dreams of a political revolution.
Absent any serious scandals and with money, time and the expertise of technology, which is the future of politics, Beto has all he needs to see his, and his father-in-law’s dream fulfilled.