How to Write the Perfect Glossy Profile of Beto O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke / Getty
August 27, 2018

Are you a media outlet with a tight budget that still badly wants to write an in-depth profile of Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) as the staunch progressive tries to beat Ted Cruz and Turn Texas Blue?

Great news! Thanks to every other news site and glossy magazine that already has had this idea, you can write one from your home office without having to ride down a barren West Texas highway while chatting with Beto about how Texans totally want gun control and single-payer health care.

Along with a heroic shot of O'Rourke with his shirt sleeves rolled up and looking dashing but determined, here's how to make your 150th iteration of this story really shine.

Inspire Hope and Grit With Your Headline, Often With a Question!

Texas Observer: "Beto Testing: Can Beto O’Rourke’s seat-of-the-pants, DIY, break-the-rules campaign succeed against Ted Cruz?"

Washington Post: "Beto O’Rourke is a Mexico-loving liberal in Texas. Can he really beat Ted Cruz?"

Texas Monthly: "Does Beto O’Rourke Stand a Chance Against Ted Cruz?"

Vanity Fair: "Meet The Kennedyesque Democrat Trying to Beat Ted Cruz"

Politico: "Beto-mania Sweeps Texas: Ted Cruz’s long-shot challenger is drawing riotous crowds. Is it enough?"

Yahoo: "Beto O’Rourke, on a ‘suicide mission’ against Ted Cruz, is having the time of his life—and might even come out of it alive"

NPR: "To Win Texas, Beto O'Rourke Is Running To The Left"

TIME: "Beto O’Rourke Is on a Long, Hard Road"

Rolling Stone: "Beto O’Rourke: Ted Cruz’s Punk-Rock Problem"

BuzzFeed: "Beto O’Rourke Could Be The Democrat Texas Has Been Waiting For: Beto O’Rourke’s grassroots campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz is blazing across Texas. But can it convert energy into actual votes?"

Town and Country: "Why So Many People Are Betting on Beto O'Rourke: He's a Kennedyesque longshot in a roiling red state, but the Democrat from Texas just might have a chance at unseating Ted Cruz."

GQ: "Beto O'Rourke vs. Ted Cruz and the Fight for America"

Esquire: "Who Is Beto O’Rourke? Meet The Man Democrats Hope Is The Next Obama"

New York Times: "The Lone Star Long Shot Who Wants to Topple Ted Cruz"

He's like a Kennedy!

This one is very important. O'Rourke sort of looks like a Kennedy, and he's young-ish, and he has Correct Thoughts, thus he is "Kennedyesque." In the #MeToo Era, the left's fetishization of a notorious womanizer puzzles to a degree, but narratives gonna narrative.

Town and Country: "With a disdain for highly paid consultants, a willingness to travel to unexpected places, and an inspiring message for an extraordinarily divided electorate, it’s hard to look at O’Rourke and not think of Bobby Kennedy in 1968."

BuzzFeed: "'There’s a reason people compare him to a Kennedy,' Sam Hatton, who’s running a scrappy campaign for the Texas House District 71, told me. 'And it’s not just those Kennedy teeth.'"

Yahoo: "Rep. Joe Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat and grandson of Bobby Kennedy who happens to be a close friend, has joked that O’Rourke is the 'best looking Kennedy in Washington.'"

New York Times: "Over lunch at the Lufkin BBQ, Mr. O’Rourke said his campaign strategy was in part drawn from the 1968 presidential campaign of his political hero, Robert F. Kennedy, long on hope and aspiration."

Washington Post: "Democrats might look at O’Rourke—a small-business owner with hipster credentials, a Gen Xer who speaks fluent Spanish and looks more like a Kennedy than the Kennedys do—and see a candidate of thrilling national potential, marred only by where he happens to live."

TIME: "Elderly voters some-times tell him that he reminds them of John F. Kennedy."

Texas Monthly: "He looks like a Kennedy. (Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy III, Bobby’s grandson, jokes that O’Rourke is 'known as being the best-looking Kennedy in Washington.')"

Politico: "'He reminds me of Robert Kennedy, but more so,' said one of them, Dianne Martin, a 71-year-old South African immigrant who met Kennedy as a schoolgirl on his 1966 trip to the country and predicts O’Rourke will be president someday. 'I can’t tell you how much I love this man.'"

Rolling Stone: "'I’m old enough to remember, and he reminds me of Bobby Kennedy,' says a woman in a blue flower-print dress. 'You can look at him and tell he means what he says.'"

Vanity Fair: "As Austin-based political strategist Brendan Steinhauser put it, it doesn’t hurt that O'Rourke 'looks like a damn Kennedy.'"

GQ: "And yet this has been the summer of Beto—a giddy campaign season during which descriptive clichés like "Kennedy-esque" and "punk-rock Democrat" have abounded."

He sweats!

Town and Country: "As he stood on one porch, a prospective voter seemed to notice the sweat accumulating on his face and throughout his shirt, so she offered him a popsicle. His face lit up. 'I’ll take a popsicle!'"

Politico: "Beto O’Rourke is running to replace Ted Cruz. Literally. Sweat pours off his lean, 6-foot-4-inch frame as the El Paso Democrat jogs along the southern bank of the Trinity River surrounded by 300-odd supporters and curious voters jogging along with him."

BuzzFeed: "Beto O’Rourke is a prolific, prodigious sweater. We’re talking shirt-soaking, chin-dripping sweat, most visible as he takes questions from the audiences that have gathered to see him across Texas."

Texas Monthly: "But after a few years, O’Rourke felt restless once again. The long commute to his publishing job in the Bronx was getting to him, and so was the DIY Brooklyn loft, where nothing quite worked. The air-conditioner-less summers were humid and sweaty."

He's charismatic!

Vanity Fair: "Cruz, for several reasons, has a dangerously low approval rating in Texas—38 percent—and the Democrats have a young, charismatic challenger named Beto O’Rourke, who’s running a campaign similar to Jon Ossoff’s in Georgia, positioning himself as a politician for all Texans."

Politico: "He is his own strategist, and his strategy is simple: campaign relentlessly, project vitality and hope his raw charisma combines in just the right proportion with anti-Cruz animus, Texas’ changing demographics and national Democratic momentum to put him over the top."

Yahoo: "It was the kind of thing that people have been saying to O’Rourke, a lanky 6-foot-4 lawmaker whose undeniable charisma on the stump has invoked steady comparisons to a young Barack Obama by Democrats in search of their next great hope."

TIME: "The Congressman is lanky, handsome and charismatic."

GQ: "O'Rourke's strengths—his charisma and optimism—are Cruz's weaknesses, and the hype that surrounds his opponent is not lost on the senator."

Texas Observer: "O’Rourke is boyish and handsome, effortlessly charismatic, and seems to hold genuine affection for just about everyone he talks to."

Texas Monthly: "But it’s O’Rourke’s charisma that sells his pitch. He is 45 but comes across as a decade younger."

He has hair!

Town and Country: "It’s not just the toothy grin, the tall stature, and the shock of hair swept over his brow."

Yahoo: "Almost all have commented on the congressman’s uncanny resemblance to Bobby Kennedy—both in his relentlessly hopeful campaign message and his looks, the mop of floppy brown hair streaked with gray and toothy grin."

Texas Monthly: "He has a full head of hair and a toothy, boyish smile, and evidence suggests that he has the metabolism of a 16-year-old in the midst of a growth spurt."

He's a longshot!

Town and Country: "He's a Kennedyesque longshot in a roiling red state, but the Democrat from Texas just might have a chance at unseating Ted Cruz.

Politico: "This, in short, is how O’Rourke plans to pull off his long-shot bid to take away Cruz’s Senate seat: by outhustling his opponent."

Rolling Stone: "O’Rourke wants to overtake 'the Beto Bus'—a raucous, 45-foot vessel scooping up supporters of his long-shot bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz."

BuzzFeed: "In that way, he’s not unlike another young, first-time, long-shot Senate candidate who grabbed the national imagination a decade ago."

New York Times: "But Democrats will need wins wherever they can get them — so the long-shot is going it alone."

NPR: "Still, Henson believes an O'Rourke victory is probably a long shot, not for lack of effort or fundraising, but because of the advantage Republican candidates enjoy in Texas when it comes to the sheer numbers of voters."

Texas Monthly: "The El Paso congressman is waging a long-shot campaign to prove a Democrat can win in Texas."

He was in a punk rock band!

Town and Country: "As a teenager O’Rourke found a home in El Paso’s burgeoning punk rock scene. 'For me it was about finding a community as a little bit of a misfit,' he says. He and a group of friends formed a band called Foss."

Yahoo: "It was a turn of events that O’Rourke, who once toured the country playing bass in a punk band, still seemed a little stunned by."

Politico: "O’Rourke played bass for a punk rock band called Foss during his undergrad days at Columbia University in New York. In Fort Worth, the congressman told the crowd he was running for Senate in 'the most punk rock way I know how.'"

Texas Monthly: "His time playing in punk-rock bands during his high school and college years has proved irresistible for headline writers."

Rolling Stone: "Few people knew of his crusade to combat gang violence by legalizing marijuana, or the years he spent playing bass with Cedric Bixler-Zavala (now a member of the Mars Volta and At the Drive-In) in their old punk band Foss."

Vanity Fair: "The 44-year-old El Paso congressman is a former punk rocker who played in a band called Foss."

Washington Post: "The son of the county judge, he formed a punk band, Foss, with the hopes of traveling the world."

Texas Observer: "O’Rourke started his own band, Foss, and he played with a lot of other musicians in the El Paso scene, including the early members of At the Drive-In, the biggest band to come from the city."

Texas Monthly: "That was what had guided him on cross-continental punk-rock tours in his early twenties."

New York Times: "He played in a punk rock band, hauled expensive art and enjoyed the wanderlust that a young man from a wealthy family can afford."

He uses edgy swear words!

Town and Country: "A car swerves in front of him, he slams on the brakes, and his campaign almost ends right there. 'Whoa! Fuckers! Sorry,' he says. 'This jackass pulled off the side of the road into everyone’s way. Sorry, guys. But we lived.'"

Texas Monthly: "O’Rourke seems to relish saying 'fuck' on the stump."

Politico: "As he speaks, he interrupts himself to unload an expletive at the GPS navigation on his phone. The F-bombs have become a signature part of O’Rourke’s unvarnished public image."

Yahoo: "'I mean, that’s just f***ing amazing,' O’Rourke said."

Texas Observer: "O’Rourke saw a band from California whose members were about his age, and a light bulb went off. 'I just—I was sold. I was like, "That is the coolest fucking thing in the world. I want to be that. That’s amazing."’"

GQ: ""What I never do is leave [a rally] like this with anything other than the feeling that, ‘Holy shit, there are so many amazing people.’"

New York Times: "The man who introduced him in Lufkin had just one request, that he refrain from swearing, an admonition that Mr. O’Rourke heeded in Lufkin but not in Beaumont."

Texas is undergoing demographic changes!

Town and Country: "He’s testing whether the tide in Texas—a state that Democrats have been eyeing for years—has finally seen the kinds of demographic shifts the party has been hoping would lead to victory."

Politico: "He is his own strategist, and his strategy is simple: campaign relentlessly, project vitality and hope his raw charisma combines in just the right proportion with anti-Cruz animus, Texas’ changing demographics and national Democratic momentum to put him over the top."

Yahoo: "They believed they would be helped by the changing demographics, including a growing Hispanic population and an influx of new residents from more liberal locales like California that was turning the biggest cities—Dallas, Houston and Austin—blue."

TIME: "An O’Rourke victory would not only be one of the biggest upsets of the Trump era. It would signify that demographic change had in fact arrived, pointing the way for other Democrats running in red states."

Vanity Fair: "This dynamic has resulted in an outpouring of hyper conservative legislation from Texas—despite a steady shift in demographics over time that traditionally favors Democrats."

GQ: "The debate over whether the state can swing Democratic often revolves around immigration figures and the state's changing demographics, since, traditionally, Hispanics tend to vote Democratic."

New York Times: "By the calculations of Mike Baselice, a Republican pollster in Austin, demographic changes might make Texas competitive in 2032, certainly not in 2018."

Ted Cruz is the worst!

Vanity Fair: "He’s looking to pick up the voters that Cruz has alienated with his relentless rightward tacking, his absence from the state as he focused on his presidential campaign, his acrobatic flip-flops on Donald Trump, and his notorious unlikeability."

BuzzFeed: "But in the Senate, he became infamously unlikable, known for being smarmy and condescending."

Rolling Stone: "How a progressive congressman—and former bassist—from El Paso is threatening to unseat the Senate’s most hated Republican."

Politico: "For one, she says Cruz is more disliked than Abbott, then a relative unknown, was."

Don't forget what happened to Wendy Davis!

Texas Monthly: "The Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, Fort Worth state senator Wendy Davis, was amassing some of the same hype as O’Rourke is now. In the end, Davis lost to Greg Abbott by a 20-point margin, and Democrats took to calling Bird’s organization Battlescam Texas."

TIME: "The skepticism about his chances is rooted in recent history. In 2014, Democratic state senator Wendy Davis, propelled to national celebrity by her filibuster of an abortion-limiting bill, launched a well-funded, widely hyped campaign for governor. She lost by 20 points."

Yahoo: "Indeed, Democrats have been down this road before, getting excited about a would-be party savior who falls short. It happened four years ago when state Sen. Wendy Davis, famous for her 2013 filibuster of an anti-abortion bill and the pink running shoes she wore to stand and speak for 13 hours, ran for governor and drew the same kind of national attention that O’Rourke has been getting, including celebrity endorsements and glowing media profiles."

NPR: "Nevertheless, recent polls have him just 2 and 6 points behind Cruz. Compare that with the 20-point walloping state Sen. Wendy Davis endured in 2014 when she lost in a landslide to Republican Greg Abbott in the race for governor."

Politico: "A year later, in 2014, state Senator Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial run fueled liberal hopes that Texas could turn blue ahead of schedule."

You'll actually need to go down to Texas in order to get a quote from the woman at Beto's town hall wearing a "We Deserve Beto Than Cruz" shirt or to watch him eat barbecue, but why bother? The puff piece writes itself.

UPDATED: 10:11 P.M.: This article was updated with excerpts from GQ's profile of the O'Rourke-Cruz race.

UPDATED: Tuesday. 11:05 A.M.: This article was updated with excerpts from the New York Times and Esquire profiles of O'Rourke.

Published under: Beto O'Rourke , Media