Rep. Beto O'Rourke is madly popular with liberals right now, mostly because he will race against Sen. Ted Cruz for his incumbency in the 2018 elections. The 44-year-old Democrat was in Austin, Texas Friday to speak with former Obama-speechwriter Jon Lovett about his bid to unseat one of the country's least popular politicians.
Lovett, the host of his new podcast "Lovett or Leave It," pointed out to the audience that O'Rourke is currently tied with Cruz in the latest poll from Texas Lyceum. But the failed screenwriter immediately tried to temper expectations.
"It's a year out. It's a full year out," Lovett said. "If polls were reliable, Donald Trump would be just some asshole in New York."
One factor that will set O'Rourke apart from his opponent, besides the fact that he is not a caricature of the modern conservative, is the fact that the Texas Democrat will not be raising money from PACs. O'Rourke said that since the time he entered Congress, he has learned that money is the No. 1 influence in American politics.
"It's not done with bad intent," O'Rourke said. "It's the inevitable byproduct, though, of our system of elections right now, which depend almost exclusively on how much money you raise. And the fastest way to do it is to go through PACs."
O'Rourke said that members of Congress mostly "grandstand" in committee hearings before they get into a boiler room to make calls that will raise money for their re-election campaigns.
Check out the full podcast episode below, courtesy of Crooked Media: