The Atlantic

Beto Wants to Be Obama—But Came Off Like Trump

The former congressman from Texas timed his announcement for president with a Vanity Fair cover.  
Source: Reuters

Beto O’Rourke wants to be the next Barack Obama, but he launched his campaign more like Donald Trump.

Celebrity can go a long way in America. O’Rourke timed his White House announcement to the release of a Vanity Fair cover that has him, tousled hair and hands on hips, with a black Lab and the open road behind him.

Four years ago, Trump came down that escalator, waving to the crowd, his wife silently a few steps ahead of him, out of the shot by the time he started speaking. O’Rourke announced Thursday morning via a video shot from his couch, his hand gesturing up and down to punctuate his script, his wife sitting beside him, half smiling but not speaking for three and a half minutes.

He gave no specifics on how he’d do anything he wants to do, or even exactly what that might be, in his announcement, other than a long pledge to uplift people and bring the country together, instead of tearing it apart, as Trump has. Nor did he give specifics at his first event, in Iowa later in the morning and carried live on cable—he talked about health care but

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min read
The Watch That Went to the Moon
Fifty years ago, Buzz Aldrin wore his Omega Speedmaster Professional on the lunar surface. It’s been an icon—and a bestseller—ever since.
The Atlantic6 min read
Can’t Impeach Trump? Go After His Cabinet.
On July 21 and 22, 1864, Confederate soldiers under John Bell Hood went on the offensive in an attempt to blunt William T. Sherman’s advance toward Atlanta. Union artillery forces dug in behind fortifications at a place called Leggett’s Hill, east of
The Atlantic5 min read
Emmy Nominations 2019: HBO Ascendant
Game of Thrones dominated a surprisingly open-minded slate of nods that recognized critical favorites.