The signs of disorder were startling. He announced his candidacy before hiring a campaign manager.
…O’Rourke’s initial handling of the media was just as clumsy. He alienated reporters by refusing to provide basic information about his schedule — including, for many outlets, the location of his campaign’s first public event.
…He performed poorly in the first primary debate, appearing shaken when a fellow Texan, Julián Castro, tore into him over his opposition to decriminalizing border crossings. O’Rourke disliked debates and preparing for them, and he felt after the encounter with Castro that he had been stilted and over-prepared, according to a source familiar with the campaign.
The peanut gallery’s opinion diverges from the author in that there are some very simple reasons why the O’Rourke campaign failed.
He started without a infrastructure in place and drifted aimlessly like a boat without a rudder.
Sometimes eschewing conventional wisdom isn’t just unconventional, it’s also unwise. To put it another way sometimes conventional wisdom becomes so because there is a great deal of wisdom to it. No matter how passionate one feels, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
He thought he was too good to play ball with the press. (The same way Dean ultimately tanked his own chances.) A campaign needs publicity to amplify and spread its message; not cooperating with the press is biting the hand that feeds you.
He should have seen Julian Castro coming and prepared for it.
His messaging was sporadic and poorly executed. (It’s always, always good to have a plan!)
Choosing to go after Elizabeth Warren in a style that was reminiscent of the classic white bro who is secretly afraid of women in power was pointless. Unless, he wanted to cement the idea he was of the opinion that women are there to serve, look pretty, and build up men and if, heaven forbid, they espouse a strong opinion, they are hostile and what was it? Oh, that’s right “punitive.” If on the other hand, he was trying to sound like a middle aged GOP Congressman blustering about because HRC had the audacity not to defer to them he was spot on!
It might not have looked so bad if he hadn’t made tellingly backwards comments about how his wife did the child-raising and housework while he free-wheeled around the country side not referring to her by name in his speeches – as if he thought of her not a fully developed person in her own right but as a silent and subdued helpmate and accessory. In the context of this backdrop, his debate comment to Warren made him look like a misogynist.
And last but not least, his disregard for down-ballot Democrats made him look like a spoiled, self absorbed child. He might have gotten a little bump in small dollar fundraising from progressive for threatening to take people guns but he basically shut down his longterm fundraising prospect with that ill-advised stunt. The rank and file don’t take kindly to having their lives made more difficult. And by that the peanut gallery means their ability to empower themselves and others to enact positive change. Democratic policies are not enact when Democrats aren’t in the majority. All the being passionate or believing ones own position to be right in the world won’t change tat.
What an absolute waste of good policy proposals.
His decent from the most intersectional approach to politics a Caucasian has shown on the national stage to a myopic, self absorbed manchild with a willingness to throw others under the bus was beyond disappointing.
The lessons here?
Running for office is a huge undertaking, even more so on the national stage. Do not dive in without having a plan. Do not not dive in without having a few key staff or supporters in place to help enact it. If you micromanage, you are showing that you are a poor administrator and do not trust your own hires. Again, no one is an expert in everything.
You do need the press. Be respectful and play nicely or you will certainly regret it.
Do not ever, ever, ever think yours is the own way, yours is only voice that matters. Enacting legislation takes compromise. Running a campaign is a team effort. Do not eschew the positions and challenges of the rank and file as less important or enlightened than your own. No candidate gets anywhere without cooperation and support.