- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2018

Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s failed Senate bid has only heightened expectations among his adoring liberal fans, who made clear their love affair isn’t over.

Alyssa Milano made the liberals’ wish explicit, replying to her own tweet Election night with “#Beto2020.”

The 46-year-old lawmaker came within a whisker of defeating incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday, collecting 48.3 percent of the vote.

Scarcely had the polls closed than the coastal media machine revved up presenting the loser as the big winner. Or, in some cases, even earlier.

“Win or lose, Beto O’Rourke set to emerge victorious,” Reuters tweeted at 2:40 p.m. Tuesday.

More than 4 million people in the Lone Star State cast ballots for a man who wanted “universal health care” and a $10 tax on every barrel of oil, and spoke out forcefully on behalf of NFL stars refusing to stand for the national anthem and much more quietly about impeaching President Trump.

Some liberal outlets had deployed the adjective “Kennedy-esque” prior to Election Day, and the same media sources poured out praise on Twitter after Mr. O’Rourke lost.

“Beto O’Rourke achieved the closest statewide election in 20 years, revitalized a moribund party base even in the reddest counties of Texas and launched himself as a national figure,” The New Yorker declared Wednesday under a black-and-white shot of worshipful fans with their eyes cast up toward an unseen stage.

“Beto O’Rourke lost in Texas, but he won a whole lot of hearts nationwide,” Buzzfeed tweeted on Election Night with a photo of Mr. O’Rourke imposed over a background dotted with cartoon hearts reminiscent of a teen idol magazine.

CNN also participated, with Chris Cillizza asking, “Now, does Beto run for president?” shortly after the polls had closed.

As it had throughout the campaign, The New Yorker filed a dispatch Wednesday with long descriptions of Mr. O’Rourke’s diverse, earnest, intelligent supporters as they packed a minor league baseball stadium in El Paso, his home base. Yet it called his concession speech “forgettable” other than the F-bomb he dropped on them and on a live television audience.

“As a progressive, he outperformed centrist Democratic incumbents in states with less conservative reputations, setting out a possible path for the future of the party,” the magazine declared.

Should Mr. O’Rourke decide to pursue national office, it’s clear he’s developed a coastal liberal fan group he could tap for support.

Celebrities never flagged in their boosting of Mr. O’Rourke, a fact Mr. Cruz used repeatedly on the Texas campaign trail. On Election Day, singer Beyonce posted a photo of herself wearing a Beto hat on Instagram.

He also dominated the late night, left-wing lineup.

Mr. O’Rourke appeared on Stephen Colbert’s CBS show, and Mr. Colbert remained a vociferous critic of Mr. Cruz throughout the campaign. Jimmy Kimmel contributed to the O’Rourke campaign along with Hollywood fixtures such as Stephen Spielberg and Sarah Jessica Parker.

“A lot of liberals were heavily invested, emotionally as well as financially, in Beto,” Juan Williams said Wednesday on Fox News.

Indeed, Mr. O’Rourke’s bid was competitive in part because of money. Mr. O’Rourke’s $38.1 million in contributions reported in the third quarter was a record haul for a quarter in a senate race and all told he raised nearly $70 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which showed nearly half of that coming from out of state.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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