In a Democratic primary where we’ve been astonished by much of what the candidates have admitted to supporting, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke managed to outdo the rest of the field with some of the most extreme statements we’ve ever heard on a political stage.
Outdoing them all was his promise, at one of the first debates, to not only ban so-called assault weapons but to go around and confiscate AR-15s from every American. Perhaps O’Rourke thought this strong stance against the Second Amendment would vault him to the top of a liberal field, but, well…it didn’t. On Friday, the man who was once described as the “white Obama” announced that he was concluding his candidacy for the White House.
“It is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” O’Rourke wrote in a post on Medium. “My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.”
We definitely agree with that last point.
Naturally, President Trump couldn’t resist poking O’Rourke on his way out of the scene.
“Oh no,” Trump tweeted. “Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!”
O’Rourke shot to an unlikely sort of fame last year when he launched a surprisingly-effective campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz. While that effort ultimately fell short of success, Beto’s popularity with the media and his Hollywood backers seemed to foretell a promising political career. Critics were not quite sure about a run for president this early, but O’Rourke’s supporters convinced him that he had what it took to win the nomination.
That turned out to be a wildly inaccurate prediction. O’Rourke’s brand of politics was not nearly as popular on the national stage, and he was never able to make much of a dent in the polls. His capitalization on the August mass shooting in El Paso was transparently political. And his statement in a September debate – “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15” – was seen as an extraordinary blunder by nearly everyone with a pulse.
At the end of the day, though, Beto won’t be taking anyone’s guns. And after making such a ludicrous promise, the cancellation of his campaign for president will also likely mean the end of his political career.
Can’t say we feel compelled to shed a tear.