We’re back. I’m ill. We’re still recording on the dirty floor of the CRC practice room. And Beto is out.
Yes, Beto O’Rourke, everyone’s favorite friendly frat bro with a penchant for standing on tables and rolling up his sleeves, dropped out of the race late last week.
OK, I’m not trying to make too much light of it — this was genuinely a significant development. Of course, anyone dropping out of a 15+ candidate field is significant. But Beto was special. He came into the race still riding high from his failed challenge of Ted Cruz in 2018. He raised $6 million in his first month. He was the media’s darling.
But he fell steadily downhill as the race went on. And that fall made all the difference. Soon, Beto was polling around the middle of the pack, along with other big names who remain in the race, like Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, but the difference is that they started there. When Beto first entered the race, he was in the upper echelon polling near the top. But his numbers just kept getting lower.
He got a nice boost with his “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” moment (Something you’ve seen parroted by your liberal and conservative friends alike, just with different sentiments). But that just wasn’t enough momentum for him to keep going for much longer.
What Beto did gain from that moment was the mantle of the “Gun Control Candidate”™. Now the question will be which, if any, candidates will jump for that title. Of course, cynical political types (Read: Maya and I) would agree that someone probably won’t until the next mass shooting.
In other news, the qualification deadline for the next debate is approaching quickly. And after some drastically incorrect claims by me, we have determined that the qualifications are having either two polls at 5% in early states or four polls at 3% anywhere. Notably, former HUD secretary Julian Castro has no qualified polls, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is one away in both areas.
It’s possible that Tulsi Gabbard gets the polls she needs. Especially considering that, according to Maya, she’s putting a lot of energy into selling herself to Middle America (apparently through billboards in cornfields, which is like, peak midwest) as a more centrist, former veteran candidate that shares their values.
Julian Castro, on the other hand, is in a much more dangerous spot. Despite his oft-praised debate performances and being portrayed by America’s sweetheart Lin Manuel Miranda on SNL, it seems unlikely that Castro will get the polls he needs by the deadline, especially considering he currently has none. In a race this crowded, picking up just a couple percentage points, like he needs to do, is incredibly difficult to achieve over a long period of time, much less in the short time span he current has. So it seems likely that Joe Biden may be the only member of the Obama administration in the next debate, and possibly, in the race at all.
Finally, Halloween was last week. And some people got all political with it. California governor Gavin Newsom and his family dressed up as 2020 candidates, making his kids the least excited kids to wear their costumes ever. A Kamala Harris staffer dressed up as Cory Booker, wearing a bald cap atop her hair that gave her a forehead bigger than Megamind. And Hillary Clinton stopped by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to retell the story of the 2016 election with a flashlight under her face, in a bit that showcased more charisma than her entire 2016 presidential run.
That’s all for this week. I’m off to treat my mysterious fall illness the old fashioned way: sleeping and hoping it goes away.