Mimi Swartz, executive editor of Texas Monthly magazine, said the cumulative effect of the countless flattering media profiles on Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Beto O'Rourke carry the implication that he's supposed to "save" Texas from Republicans.
Swartz wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times on Tuesday that Democrats like O'Rourke who attempt statewide campaigns have come and gone in deep red Texas before, and said O'Rourke is the latest to be cast as a progressive savior of the state.
O'Rourke, who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, "has been the subject of hagiographic articles in just about every publication in existence, including Town & Country, a magazine rarely known for its political influence," said Swartz. "Beto (he has achieved first-name status) has also appeared on the TV shows of Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher, among many, many others. Beto fever has reached malarial levels on both coasts, too. ... [B]ut the implication, subtle though it may be, is that Beto is the only living human who might be able to save Texas from itself."
Swartz pointed to past Democrats in Texas who were media sensations, including Wendy Davis in 2013, and Ann Richards, who was elected governor of Texas in 1990, only to see Republicans maintain their hold on the state's overall political power.
Others have also been critical of O'Rourke's popularity among journalists.
Politico media columnist Jack Schafer wrote last week that, "Not since the press corps fell in love with Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign has such a sirocco of worshipful candidate profiles and commentaries appeared in the national press."