‘Horse race’ takes on new meaning

Many of us lament the nature of political coverage, how it centers on the “horse race” aspect: who’s up and who’s down?

Now, though, the “horse race” element is taking on a new context.

Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Democratic Party presidential primary field this past week was followed immediately by his jaw-dropping fundraising effort. O’Rourke managed to raise $6.1 million in just 24 hours, a record for such political fundraising. Beto beat Bernie Sanders’s previous record of $5.9 million in the first day of his 2020 presidential campaign announcement.

So now the media are talking about the Texan’s prodigious fundraising capability. They take note of how they come from small donors living in all 50 states and the various U.S. territories.

The political pros also are comparing Beto with Barack, saying that O’Rourke’s huge initial cash take dwarfs the amount that Sen. Obama raked in as he campaigned for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

All this money is just fine. Beto has a lot of it to spend as he seeks to elbow his way past the gigantic — and still growing — 2020 Democratic field.

The pile of cash doesn’t necessarily translate to a pile of votes. At least that has been the norm.

Until this year?

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