Beto Odds: El Pasoan's Price Shifts After Entering 2020 Race

Beto Odds: El Pasoan's Price Shifts After Entering 2020 Race

What are Beto O'Rourke's Odds of Becoming the Next US President?

  • Beto's odds on becoming US President in 2020 are currently +1000.
  • This price has fluctuated since the midterms in November 2018, when the former Congressman was narrowly defeated by Senator Ted Cruz in Texas.
  • After announcing his candidacy, the 46-year-old is fourth favorite to become the Democratic nominee - behind the likes of Joe Biden (+500) and joint favorites Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders (+450).

Beto's Odds Look Good - It's Time to Back Him for 2020

Buoyed by the best chance of defeating an incumbent president since 1980, 16 candidates are declared for the 2020 Democrat Nomination. Early skirmishes are yet to produce a front-runner or breakthrough moment for lesser-known types. Two septuagenarians with a massive name recognition advantage still lead the polls.

The name recognition point will soon change. Whether or not Beto O’Rourke ultimately wins the nomination, the Congressman from El Paso, Texas is certain to become a household name.

As explained when awarding him top ranking back in January, O’Rourke has star appeal. Every media outlet awaited his decision with bated breath. We will soon discover whether he really is the ‘New Obama’ or a talking horse.

It is important when betting on politics to analyze weaknesses first. O’Rourke is inexperienced and many believe he is more of a VP pick - a great campaigner with vote-winning potential, who needs time to mature into a leader. Plausible.

Purist Critics on the Left are Unrepresentative

Others on the far left of the Democrat primary electorate worry that he’s just a pretty face with little substance. A ‘centrist’ who will back status quo policies rather than radical socialist reform. The same voices say precisely that of Obama - who retains 95% approval among Democrats. Although obviously unrepresentative, these critics are active, noisy and correctly see the threat to their man - Bernie Sanders.

A third criticism is that he’s a loser who failed to beat Ted Cruz in Texas. I find this ridiculous, given how close he came to achieving the impossible. On the same night, other Democrats in red state Senate races were thrashed. Nevertheless it will be thrown at O’Rourke, not least by Trump’s Twitter feed.

Notwithstanding such inevitable stick that any presidential candidate must endure, I’m adamant O’Rourke’s entry into the race is tremendous news for Democrats and yet more bad news for Trump. Winning the candidacy is the hard part - in a general election, I’d back Beto to win a landslide.

The Keys to Liberal Success are Charisma and Optimism

Polls of Democrat voters suggest that electability will be the decisive ingredient for any candidate. Signals about who will fare best against Trump will become clearer via polls over time but what precisely are the qualities to look for? What makes a liberal or leftist more electable?

If we span the last quarter-century in the English-speaking world, it seems that ideology is less the criteria than not being a dull technocrat. Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, for example, are poles apart, yet fared vastly better than Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

Barack Obama may have since been redefined by a few hard-left critics as a centrist in the Bill Clinton mold, but he ran as an outsider promising radical change in 2008. Hillary, John Kerry and Al Gore all failed despite competent, safe brands.

What united the winners was star appeal and optimism. The charisma to engage the average disengaged voter. The positive rhetoric to inspire voters to register, donate, even campaign.

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O’Rourke’s Texas Campaign was Remarkable

All parties of the Left rely on younger and minority voters, who are always less likely to be registered or turn out. If the candidate fails to connect with and inspire them, as ageing, damaged Hillary failed, they will lose on differential turnout. Conservatives are older, reliably registered and, historically at least, less purist about their candidate.

On those counts, Beto already proved himself. Despite refusing any PAC money, he attracted more donations than any Senatorial candidate in history. His speeches went viral instantly on social media. When touring every county in the state, his crowd sizes were remarkable. Speaking fluent Spanish, he excited Latinos like no Democrat before.

The big Democrat beasts - the advisors and strategists that served Obama and Clinton - are well aware. Now he’s in the race, expect many to jump behind O’Rourke early and help create a new superstar.

The style and nature of rhetoric will be critical. There is a danger that Democrats - apoplectic about Trump - will come across as too shrill and angry. Trump’s only chance lies in them picking a radical socialist and/or identity politics warrior. Thus alienating a vast cache of moderate voters who are against Trump.

To win in 2020, Democrats need to retain the moderate, white suburban women that swung their way last November. Republicans cannot win without them. Those voters might well support progressive positions, but they need to be wooed, rather than lectured. Check out this masterclass from O’Rourke in that - addressing the deeply divisive issue of footballers refusing to kneel for the national anthem.

A general election between Trump and O’Rourke would result in a historic swing to the left. On one side, somebody I’ve labelled as a combination of Bobby Kennedy, Obama and Bernie Sanders - passionately, unapologetically stating his liberal values. He will talk of building a movement of ordinary people, based on small donations to take on the vested interests.

On the other, an elderly incumbent mired in corruption scandals. Who claimed to be self-financed and independent when running in 2016 on an optimistic MAGA message, but whose campaign turned out to be fuelled by a hostile foreign power and deeply connected to the swamp he promised to drain.

By taking +1000 for the presidency, we are primarily betting on the nomination. If clearing that first hurdle, Beto O’Rourke will become the next president of the USA.

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