Yes. Yes it is.
You won’t see any in mainstream media talking about it, not because they’re all trying to hide the reality (though some are) but because they probably haven’t noticed. This isn’t an analysis of what we’re seeing. The proof of Beto O’Rourke’s campaign demise can be seen in what’s absence.
Betomania isn’t taking hold as many (including me) predicted. He was actually getting more attention and interest from mainstream media before he officially announced his candidacy. Now, he’s struggling to get positive headlines. Even neutral stories, such as a pair of campaign aides leaving but still volunteering for the campaign, is being positioned in a negative light. The Hill’s headline was truthful and not spun, something they’re not known to do with headlines about candidates. Instead, it’s “Key aides leave O’Rourke’s campaign: report.”
Another story that’s making its rounds is his use of lobbyist campaign contributions. A favored candidate would get a plethora of headlines excusing this action with whataboutisms and claims of nothingburgers, bug so far, nothing. “O’Rourke faces question about acceptance of lobbyist money” is the type of headline we’re seeing.
In fact, we’re even seeing some negative opinion pieces coming from leftist publications. Radical progressive site Mother Jones didn’t take kindly to O’Rourke’s claims that his lack of charitable giving was due to him giving himself to the people.
So, where’s the Betomania we were promised? Some of it is being sucked away by a concerted effort underway by some progressive groups who really, really want a woman to be at the top of the ticket, and not Hillary Clinton. With Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand all having favorable genders to some of these groups than someone like O’Rourke, the need to chop him down is important if they’re going to have a chance against the two old white guys, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.
But the primary reason Beto is flailing for attention is because so much of it is going to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Like O’Rourke did with his 2018 Senate campaign, Buttigieg came out of nowhere to suddenly be rising in the polls and raising an unexpected amount of campaign funds. He’s also getting a sustained level of attention from the media as compared to O’Rourke’s hills and valleys.
Little by little, Buttigieg is getting attention from everyone on the left. He’s omnipresent in the media, which is very difficult considering the number and popularity of his competitors.
So far in April, he’s drawn many more searches on Google than O’Rourke. Most of this can be attributed to people simply not knowing who he is, but the consistency of his media dominance is worth noting.
Very few saw Scott Walker’s climb and sudden fall in 2015 during the early days of the GOP primary. He went from the frontrunner to pulling his name from contention seemingly overnight. Are we seeing the same with Beto O’Rourke?