Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beto's Contribution He Could Change the Politics of the 2020 Race

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beto's Contribution He Could Change the Politics of the 2020 Race

Article excerpt

The Dallas Morning News reports that former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke "is close to making a decision on whether to run for president in 2020 or challenge Texas Sen. John Cornyn. Judging from his recent comments and out-of-state trips, the El Paso Democrat would rather aim for the White House and leave Cornyn to someone else."

If Mr. O'Rourke entered the presidential race, he would need to find a message distinct from that of the slew of other candidates. With Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., preaching love and unity, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., touting her ability to work across the aisle, Mr. O'Rourke's Senate-campaign message of unity and tolerance might seem unoriginal. Emphasizing his commitment to inclusion and tolerance -another message he hit during his 2018 run against Sen. Ted Cruz -could seem odd coming from a white man in a race populated by African Americans, Hispanics and women.

Mr. O'Rourke did make a salient point during the Senate contest: We cannot run mind-numbing, insult-driven campaigns and then expect to govern effectively. Voters have gotten dumber and governing has become impossible after two years of gotcha ads, opposition-research dumps and nasty debates.

Why then doesn't Mr. O'Rourke, if he does choose to get into the race, issue a challenge: None of the Democrats will employ opposition researchers to dig up dirt on one another and slip it to the press. If a candidate has some criticism of an opponent, he or she should be aboveboard and take responsibility for going "negative." The practice of pre-baked stories delivered on "background" or "with no fingerprints" to the media has become ubiquitous, to the detriment of the campaigns, the voters and the media (who get corralled into doing the campaigns' dirty work for them).

For this campaign in particular, why should Democrats do President Donald Trump's opposition research for him, rather than force him to investigate the bazillion candidates in preparation for the campaign? …

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