One of the most astonishing political developments of the 2018 midterm elections is the race between Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, a Democrat, and Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent, for a United States Senate seat in Texas. While O’Rourke has never led Cruz in any poll, he has been unexpectedly close in some, especially considering that Texas is a deep red state. O’Rourke has been as close as one point in the Emerson Poll, but the most recent poll performed by Quinnipiac has him nine points back. Nevertheless, Real Clear Politics has judged the race a tossup.

O'Rourke made three big mistakes with Bill Maher.

Why O’Rourke is so close

Two explanations seem to present themselves when examining O’Rourke’s performance. First, his boyish good looks seem to have a superficial appeal. The congressman has been compared, at least in style and appearance, to Bobby Kennedy. He resembles more closely another Kennedy, but more of that anon.

The other factor explaining O’Rourke’s relative success is the huge stream of campaign funds he has been garnering from Hollywood, left-leaning Silicon Valley executives, and Democratic movers and shakers from the East Coast. O’Rourke, at least until recently, has outraised Cruz because of his popularity among coastal elites.

Why O’Rourke is going to lose anyway

Despite all of these advantages that have contributed to O’Rourke’s unexpected performance, Senator Cruz is likely to beat him anyway. The short answer is that O’Rourke’s positions and his personal history are too much out of step to winning statewide in Texas.

As NPR points out, O’Rourke has expressed a number of positions that, while popular with Democrats, would seem to be wide of the mark for most Texas voters.

He supports unrestricted abortion, restrictions on gun ownership, the Iran nuclear deal that O'Rorke defended, universal health care, a rise in the minimum wage, and the impeachment of President Donald Trump. He has even supported some National Football League athletes taking a knee for the national anthem during games, an act that many Americans view as disrespectful.

Finally, O’Rourke has a checkered personal history. In 1998, the future Senate candidate crashed his car while driving drunk, and, according to the police report, attempted to leave the scene of the accident. He was arrested, but the charges were dismissed when he completed a court-sponsored diversion program. O’Rourke has denied attempting to leave the scene, claiming that the passenger in his car would back up that version of the incident. Thus the Kennedy comparison is more suited to Teddy Kennedy than to Bobby or Jack.

The bottom line

Even if a blue wave or a red wave or some kind of ripple happens in between, O’Rourke, who despite the nickname “Beto,” is not Hispanic, but Irish is likely to fall short in his bid to topple Ted Cruz.

Cruz is not taking his seat for granted and is campaigning hard. When the two men are matched, as happened at the recent debate in Dallas, Cruz wins handily. Then, O’Rourke can go for the job he is really campaigning for, as the joke goes, as a paid contributor for a cable TV news network.