And the Beto Goes On…the Road
And the Beto Goes On…the Road
January 10, 2019
Beto O’Rourke is back on the road, taking his brand of “aww shucks” to a town near you. Provided you have a good wifi connection so he can upload his daily propaganda, he’s headed your way. Heck, he may even decide on a spontaneous stop in, say….Iowa.
The Beto Bus is on the road again. He’s taking his well received “meet the people of Texas” road trip to the interstate. There is no published route, undoubtedly there will be continual social media updates. He won’t confirm a presidential run in 2020, but has said that he’ll reward his adoring media with an answer by the end of February.
The talking heads at MSNBC are already touting his road trip as a presidential precursor, and I’ll be shocked if there isn’t an office “go fund him” jar in the break room. MSNBC does have a very good observation that Beto is modeling his style in that of Trump. In this vein, Beto is not only setting himself apart from the other potential Democratic candidates, but shifting to be the foil of the current POTUS. “In Rebutting President Donald Trump, Beto May Have Stumbled On The Key To Beating Him.”
Beto is a foil to Trump, with his theory that people are essentially good. His very popular Facebook videos show him interviewing neighbors “chat” style in their homes. These friends are one or two generations removed from immigrants. Some talk about how the border pre 9/11 was easy to walk across at checkpoints, and families would go back and forth. Then chat about how the descendants of those immigrants have obtained Masters or JD degrees, and contributed to the success of El Paso and the fabric of America.
His Twitter videos at the El Paso border don’t show crisis, in fact it seems lovely this evening.
A shot of the U.S.-Mexico border pic.twitter.com/R35klcZ0Ov
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) January 9, 2019
“Immigrants aren’t criminals intent on hurting America, but essential to its success” is his tone. It’s very compelling stuff, despite being over an hour long it has more than 2,000 shares and 176,000 views in only two days.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 31, 2018
His response to Trump’s continued pursuit of building the wall is a highly produced video highlighting the natural beauty of Texas, along the border. The emotional music and images of animals are enough to get the WWF seal of approval. It stops just short of being overt and is a great use of media to capture a generation raised on National Geographic videos. This video has over 3,000,000 views and 78,000 shares. It’s almost as popular as Occasional-Cortex’s mac’n’cheese instagram posts.
Posted by Beto O'Rourke on Friday, December 28, 2018
Trump is the brash billionaire, while Beto is the “let’s all be chill” working man. Beto will use this image to his advantage, and the road trip to “meet the people outside of Texas” will reinforce his Jimmy Stewart likability. American voters love an underdog story, and nothing is better than someone who reminds them of “Mr.Smith Goes to Washington.” We’ve seen it with Obama, and Bill Clinton where their story overshadowed their ability. It became the trampoline that bounced them to the White House.
The best way to make an impact is with a story. People remember it, and it fosters connections. Trump does it well, but in a very brash and aggressive way. Beto’s approach is softer, and more inclusive. Occasional-Cortex is goofy and “one of the girls.” Their control of the story and narrative is a big part of their success. Beto’s roadshow is going to build on this model. His tour is going to trend on social media, and the networks will eat it up. Prepare to get buried under stories of Beto meeting farmers, ranchers, bakers, teachers, and dreamers. The narrative will be straightforward, “while Trump tears us apart, Beto brings us together.”
What separates Beto from the growing field? He’s young, attractive, and relatable. He has a first hand working knowledge of the media vectors used by his base. A candidate that travels with a camera crew is “old”, because everyone under 50 is using their phone to record video. The under 40 group is using a drone with tracking capabilities. In the time it takes Elizabeth Warren to squint at her screen and line up the beer shot, Beto or Occasional-Cortex have recorded, edited, cross posted, and hash tagged into the Twittersphere. They controlled the narrative, and presented it to the traditional media ready for a lightning round on the AM talk show. Newsweek highlighted his successful social media strategy,
O’Rourke has used various social media platforms to articulate his ideas as he considers a 2020 presidential run. He posts essays on Medium, broadcasts live from town hall meetings on Periscope and displays his cooking skills and home life on Instagram.
In an election in which the Democratic nominee would likely have to square off against Twitter king Donald Trump, such adaptivity could prove tactically useful. Much like incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, O’Rourke knows how to use social media to humanize himself and explain the issues to large swaths of Americans.
By media design, or changing demographics Ted Cruz almost lost his seat. The final count was 50.9% for Cruz, 48.3% for Beto. It was a vote difference of 215,000 ballots. Beto won by larger numbers in Dallas (239,000 votes above Cruz) than Cruz did in the state. Blame the $70,000,000 influx it cost to get that close, but it’s irrelevant. Hillary spent a billion to lose the presidency. $70 Million is a drop in the bucket of a Presidential contest. If it cost only $70 Million to swap Red Texas, imagine what a Billion can do on a national level.
By taking his act on the road, Beto is on a test drive for a Presidential run. If he can appeal to the Bernie crowd with his youth, the Warren crowd with his transparency, and the Biden crowd with his lack of baggage…there is a very real shot that he can be the ticket headliner in 2020. All it takes is a winning smile and a good story packaged for the press. Add in a “Go Fund Me” and PayPal donation options, and it’s a legitimate Presidential race.
Occasional-Cortex is a lot of fun to watch stumble around the Capitol. But Beto is the one to watch for the White House in 2020. His “happy feels” social media and “meet the folks” road trip will change the narrative. It will shift from a “border in crisis” to a “Beto’s World”, where facts don’t matter and the story is made up. The DHS has stats too, and the stories are tragic for those who are victims of our porous borders. Don’t let the Beto narrative stop the wall.
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