Beto O’Rourke is officially running for president—here’s what you need to know
The already crowded field of Democrats running for president in 2020 just got bigger. Beto O’Rourke, who famously challenged Texas senator Ted Cruz for a senate seat in 2018, has officially announced he’s entering the ring.
If you’re not a Texas native, you probably first heard of O’Rourke during his 2018 senate campaign. The race attracted national attention (in part because so very many people—even outside of Texas—wanted to see Ted Cruz lose), and CNN notes that citizens around the country helped raise $80 million for his campaign. Despite many claiming there was no way for a Democrat to win a senate seat in the deep-red state, O’Rourke came within three points of beating incumbent Cruz in the general election. After months of speculation that he would use the momentum of his senate race to launch a presidential run, the 46-year-old former congressman declared his candidacy in a video that he tweeted out on March 14th.
"This is a defining moment of truth for this country, and for every single one of us," O'Rourke says in his announcement video. "The challenges that we face right now; the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy, and our climate have never been greater. And they will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United State of America."
What is O’Rourke’s platform?
O’Rourke was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and served three terms before dropping out to run for the senate. So far, his platform isn’t entirely clear, but The New York Timesreports that in the past, he’s supported universal health care, the decriminalization of marijuana, and stricter gun control laws. He has opposed President Donald Trump’s border wall, and he supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has also been vocal about the need for criminal justice reforms, calling for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing and for-profit prisons.
According to CNN, O’Rourke is the 13th Democrat to officially announce a presidential run, with three more having established exploratory committees. At this point, it remains to be seen whether his 2020 campaign will maintain the hype of his senate race—or whether he’ll have trouble gaining traction amid the other candidates. May the best person win the nomination.