News Release

Beto O’Rourke Offering “Rorschach Politics”

In a story headlined “Centrist or Liberal? Beto O’Rourke’s Political Splits,” The Associated Press reports that in the early days of his presidential campaign O’Rourke “has vowed to work with Republicans. . . The architects of his campaign insist he’s not interested in adhering to a particular ideological lane, and O’Rourke himself shuns party labels. But trying to have it both ways could leave Democratic voters with the impression that O’Rourke is a candidate with a split political personality.”

The AP story quotes Norman Solomon, who was a Barack Obama delegate in 2008 and a Bernie Sanders delegate in 2016 at Democratic national conventions. “I see him [O’Rourke] as offering Rorschach politics,” Solomon said. “In the age of Trump, when you want to be something for everybody, you’re going to end up being amorphous for a lot of people.” He added: “We can’t just be nice to Republicans. We know that doesn’t work.”

In an opinion piece published today — “Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President” — Solomon writes that “to understand Beto O’Rourke as a candidate, it’s vital to go beneath the surface of his political backstory.”

To arrange an interview, contact:

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com

Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org, which has 1.2 million active supporters online in the United States. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Solomon was the coordinator of the independent Bernie Delegates Network. He is currently on the coordinating team of the relaunched Network.

In his article today, Solomon writes about “an inconvenient truth that could undermine the O’Rourke campaign among the people who matter most — the ones who’ll be voting to choose the Democratic presidential nominee next year.”

Solomon’s piece says that “O’Rourke would much rather talk in upbeat generalities than answer pointed questions about why anti-Republican voters should cast ballots for him — when he has a long record of going along with many GOP positions they find abhorrent.” For example, “he supported raising the minimum age for Social Security in 2012,” and while in Congress through the end of 2018 “he often aligned himself with Republican positions.”

And Solomon concludes: “In his quest for a Democratic nomination that will require support from a primary electorate that leans progressive, Beto O’Rourke will be running to elude his actual record. If it catches up with him, he’s going to lose.”

Solomon is the executive director of IPA.