A News & Guts reader named Dan. Not that Dan, but another close observer of politics, wrote this thread on Twitter and we thought it was worth sharing:
Let me get the praise out of the way: Beto seems like a genuinely good guy. The way he talks, for example, about racial history in this country and Trump’s use of Nazi terminology is both necessary and he does it with a unique clarity that I really appreciate. Also, yes, he has SOME talent. In particular, he’s talented at working a town hall, inspiring a crowd, standing in front of his supporters and getting them excited. That’s not nothing. But I was always perplexed by the notion that he could be a legitimate Presidential candidate.
Beyond the obvious knocks against him (extremely inexperienced, no clear rationale to run other than his “talent,” and perhaps most importantly, the total lack of a compelling personal story to fill in the gaps left by inexperience)…it’s quite simple: He is a poor debater…This was evident in every debate against the hated and unpopular Ted Cruz. Beto did not rise to the occasion. He seemed smaller than the stage, lightweight, and did not demonstrate the heft to carry the big stage in a SENATORIAL debate. That some people looked at that and thought he was a Presidential contender told me either they were deluding themselves about Beto’s debate weaknesses or were picking and choosing his strengths which lay elsewhere. But a true Presidential contender cannot be a poor debater. And a poor debater on a smaller stage in a race in which he lost? It was baffling that so many looked at his overall performance and thought he had the total package. And the person this encouragement did no favors to…was Beto.
Here we are a couple debates in the books. His first debate was famously poor, so much so that he had to get onto the phone with fundraisers to reassure them that he’d improve. The next thing that came out was his 2nd quarter fundraising numbers which were…catastrophically bad
And then the 2nd debate. No one said he did exceptionally bad, but what we heard post-debate was just…nothing. As if Beto has totally fallen off the radar. That’s not a great place to be. So, with that comes what next? He could keep on going and stay through Iowa and come in 4th or 5th and then drop out. He could mount a valiant comeback. It’s POSSIBLE but there’s a lot of experience and well-funded organizations he’d be going against.
To think what’s next let’s imagine a hypothetical: Beto decided not to run for President. He probably doesn’t run for Senate either (and he just lost to Ted Cruz in a wave year so couldn’t blame him for not risking it all on another defeat). Perhaps he sat this out and waited until next governor’s race or 2024 Senate. Either way, HAD he waited it out, he’d be a star and demand for him would only grow in time. His future would have been a whole lot brighter had he opted to sit this one out. That’s too late now, and the common refrain is that if and when he ultimately exits the race, he should run for Senate. I don’t know. There are some contenders running in that race already and building an infrastructure. IF I were Beto, knowing that my fundraising is going to struggle and I haven’t been able to break into the upper tier the way Booker now appears to be doing, I’d give serious thought to exiting the race soon.
He has already qualified for September’s debates so perhaps he sees that as his opportunity. But imagine if Beto left with his dignity before any losses and declared that he’s throwing himself into one macro mission: turning Texas blue. Launches a massive voter registration program, particularly targeting the immense non-voting Hispanic population. A program that leverages his star power and frankly the waves he’d make announcing his departure – one that would have every candidate and network pouring money into his new organization. An org to fund and support grassroots organizers and also back base-building organizations like @runforsomething. To flood the zone with exciting young recruits on the local level. Andrew Gillum is attempting something similar in Florida, but I think Beto could take it to the next level Texas-sized, if you will. This is what I’m rooting for. Because I like Beto even if I don’t see him as a credible Presidential candidate. I think he can have a bright future. And the best way he can help our country is to exit the race and focus all his attention on TX It won’t be easy & won’t turn TX blue in 2020, but it’ll bring some important local seats along and pave the way for the future. Fundamental reforms also means fundamentally shifting the electoral equation & TX would do that. Beto would be a hero and I hope he does it.
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