Beto O'Rourke's 'privilege' may be hurting candidate with women, column says

Beto O’Rourke has been slammed for his male privilege in a recent newspaper column that pointed out that no female politician could get away with O’Rourke’s style of exploring a presidential campaign bid.

The former Texas Rep. has been rumored to run for president in 2020 ever since his loss to Sen. Ted Cruz last year in a big-money Senate race, prompting him to go on a road trip across the country and stay in the public’s eye. He is also set to travel to Iowa this weekend in what appears to be a sign that his entry into the White House race is imminent.

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But O’Rourke is already facing criticism over the way he tried to raise his profile across the country, which included less talk about policies and more about publishing odd diary entries, visiting college campuses and listening to Metallica.

“Imagine, they say, if Beto were Betsy,” Lisa Lerer, a reporter, wrote in The New York Times. “What would the reception have been if a female candidate left her three small children home and spent several weeks traveling the country, posting stream-of-consciousness diary entries? Or if she chose to forgo a Senate race that would provide a greater opportunity for victory?”

“What would the reception have been if a female candidate left her three small children home and spent several weeks traveling the country, posting stream-of-consciousness diary entries? Or if she chose to forgo a Senate race that would provide a greater opportunity for victory?”

— The New York Times

The paper noted that female Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with O’Rourke’s unorthodox approach and says the fact that his profile increasing is a sign of double standard that women face.

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O’Rourke particularly irked others after he ruled out a second Senate run last month, this time for Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) seat, which given his prominence in the state he would have a good chance to win, as it was seen as a move serving purely his own interests.

“If a woman was presented with a similar choice: Do that less ambitious but better for the party thing, versus more ambitious but longer shot thing, I don’t see people being super understanding when she takes the latter,” Jess McIntosh, a Democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton aide, told the Times.

Democrats aren’t the only ones attacking the likely 2020 candidate. A group that boosts GOP candidates across the country will air a two-minute commercial in Iowa that paints O’Rourke as the prime example of “white male privilege” and compares to former President Barack Obama, Politico reported.

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“With a charmed life like his, you can never really lose,” the ad by Club for Growth states. “That’s why Beto’s running for president — because he can.”