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12/25/18

Why Sanders supporters are attacking Beto

On November 26, Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke announced that he would not "rule anything out" regarding future political ambitions - which the media unanimously reported as a sign that he might run for president.

Immediately, O'Rourke received a surge of positive coverage from pundits like Chris Cillizza, Dan Pfeiffer, and Timothy Murphy. A new Political Action Committee launched dedicated to drafting Beto. The Hill reported a "lovefest for O’Rourke"; Vice Asked Beto's Biggest Fans Why They Love Him So Much, Newsweek headlines declared "Beto O'Rourke 2020 wave grows" and TMZ breathlessly informed us that Beto wanted to be in the Beatles.

All of this happened before the major milestones in the Vast Anti-Beto Conspiracy: a banal tweet from David Sirota on December 2nd, and a Washington Post column from Elizabeth Bruenig on December 5.

People are talking about Beto because the press gave him a massive wave of swooning coverage at the end of November. Critics are responding to this because people tend to talk about what is going on in the news. Clinton partisan Jill Filipovic criticized the press's "Beto-mania"; reactionary and rumored vampire Kevin Williamson declared that Democrats are "mad for Beto"; and yes, socialists like Branko Marcetic also noticed the "Beto-for-president mania sweeping liberal America".

Of course Sanders supporters are talking about this too. The only real mystery is why so many journalists are playing dumb about it, and pretending that there is some unique significance in the Sanders camp responding to the same news that everyone else has been responding to.