Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 10, 2019 2 min read

Somewhere along the way to writing insidious hitpiece after insidious hitpiece about Beto, demanding petulantly that he drop out of the 2020 race even as he was running fifth out of 24 candidates, @politico began describing, despite itself, a pretty f*cking interesting candidacy.

1/ I think many of us can relate to—and in fact have at some point been in—the situation Beto is in: you get criticized and abused to the point that you put enormous pressure on yourself and beat yourself up badly, until one day you decide f*ck it, I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do.

2/ I've no difficulty understanding what Beto's attitude toward his political future in Texas is: if running for office in Texas at some point in the future means going back to *lying about guns* like all Texas politicians do, either I'm not running again or I'm gonna run my way.

3/ The one thing we almost never see in presidential campaigns is a presidential candidate so at peace with his or her own life that they're perfectly comfortable with losing. Voters usually treat that as a lack of commitment—in fact, it's just a normal human dose of perspective.

4/ I disagree with Beto on many things, and I have not gotten behind any candidate and don't plan to for some time. But the narrative around Beto was always bullsh*t. It was *always* people projecting their own sense of the world today onto a person they don't know or understand.

5/ It always amazes me when voters forget the core reality of not just politics but public life: we *don't know* public figures. Ever. We just know how we like to *think* of them. Beto's candidacy reminds us that Beto is the one who has to live Beto's life after this is all over.

6/ One reason I find Beto's candidacy interesting is it began with jerks deliberately taking a quote about his excitement to advocate for other people out of context and attaching it to a narrative that isn't his, and he's now fought to where he's publicly "become himself" again.

7/ It's OK to not want a straight white man as POTUS right now. That's where *my* head is at, too. But there's no need to translate that sensible position into BS attacks on a guy who wants to make himself useful. We needn't turn our preferences into over-prescriptive narratives.

8/ Choosing a presidential candidate in no way requires attacking other people's choices—let alone talking sh*t about candidates you've no reason to think are anything but decent folks who want to be public servants. We Democrats must stop needlessly cannibalizing ourselves. /end


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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