Robert "Beto" O'Rourke was not just filming skateboarding in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. Even the dentist's visit was documented by the 46-year-old Democrat from El Paso, Texas on Instragram. With a lot of public coolness, O'Rourke – who played in a punk band in the 90s – wants to become president of the United States next year.
For months, the candidacy had been speculated. O'Rourke became nationally acclaimed in 2016 when he almost won the Senate election against Republican incumbent and right wing Ted Cruz in traditionally Republican Texas. His secret of success then and now: A friendly charisma, relaxed demeanor and the talent to circumvent greater controversy.
Despite the current heated and unreflecting camp thinking, O'Rourke announced in his first campaign video on Thursday that he wanted to "drive a positive campaign that brings out the best in all of us." He also promised to unite the country. Many observers feel reminded by O'Rourke's demeanor of Barack Obama, who conquered the White House in 2008 with a highly personality-centered feel-good campaign. By vague promises, Obama at that time managed to get rid of many voters, almost without formulating detailed political demands.
His positions are still vague
O'Rourke is now trying a similar feat. Hardly anyone knows what he stands for politically. Generally it is attributed to the moderate wing of the party. During his six-year deputy work in the House of Representatives, he was known for his bank-friendly voting behavior and otherwise attracted little attention. With a major political project O'Rourke has not yet come to the public.
In his campaign video, while he cut some topics such as migration, climate change and the health system, but without becoming more concrete. For example, O'Rourke wants to make sure that "every American can see a doctor." Theoretically, however, now every US citizen, if he can pay the doctor's visit or health insurance is – and there is a doctor nearby. This is not the case for millions of US citizens, and especially for many illegal immigrants. While other candidates have presented far-reaching health care reform proposals, including general health insurance, O'Rourke remains vague.