It wasn’t all that long ago that Buttigieg was the new Beto O’Rourke in the sense that he took a huge chunk of Beto’s support, copied and enhanced much of his style, and occupied the same ‘thoughtful but spiritual hipster’ mode that Obama had innovated for Generation X politicians. Now, as Buttigieg’s support collapses so that even a fringe candidate like Andrew Yang is giving him a run for his money, it may be that Buttigieg is the new Beto O’Rourke in the more immediate sense of following him into the political abbatoir where hipster politicos go.
The reasons though may be both related and somewhat different.
Robert Francis O’Rourke is currently performing better with minorities than with white voters, while Buttigieg never caught on with minority voters and performed especially badly with black voters. The overall common denominator is that the white voters who made their candidacies viable have been drifting on to more viable candidates.
The problem that O’Rourke shared with Buttigieg is that beyond their immediate hipness, they’re not very interesting candidates. And the hipness wears off very quickly. Just ask Obama voters around 2012. And if their voters are going to back boring candidates, they’ve got Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren to choose from.
Buttigieg, like O’Rourke, appeared to offer something newish at a casual glance, but then, it turned out there was nothing new there.
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