In one of the oddest political stunts in modern history, Democrat golden boy Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke live-streamed part of his dentist appointment on Instagram Thursday, speaking with his dental hygienist about the border.
“I’m here at the dentist, and we’re going to continue our series about people who live along the border. My dental hygienist, Diana, is going to tell us about growing up in El Paso,” O’Rourke said as a dental cleaning implement was removed from his mouth. He posted the video with others on his Instagram “story,” which can be seen by clicking on his photo on his Instagram page.
He then showed a quick succession of videos featuring Diana explaining her experiences in El Paso.
Diana, the dental hygienist, praised El Paso, describing it as “a beautiful community.” Speaking with goggles and a mask over her face, she recounted being born in El Paso to her U.S. citizen father and her Mexican-American mother. When her mother became a citizen, “the entire neighborhood was there when she passed her citizenship test.”
O’Rourke, who lost the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Texas to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, has been touring Texas towns along the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to disprove President Donald Trump’s assertions that there is a crisis on the border. O’Rourke, who seems to be priming for a presidential race in 2020, has published videos attacking the idea of a border wall, one of Trump’s major promises in the 2016 presidential election.
While appearing on Instagram may seem a desperate gambit for relevance, it may prove a smart 2020 move for O’Rourke. Many members of the rising generation after millennials — known as Generation Z or “iGen” for “internet generation” — prefer Instagram to other forms of social media, and this move might make Beto even more of a celebrity among the youngest voters in 2020.
Yes, this is real. Beto O’Rourke livestreamed his dentist appointment on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/rbf0wueck0
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) January 10, 2019
O’Rourke has already won the support of a major Chicago donor who backed Barack Obama early in the 2008 presidential campaign. He may only take third place among Iowa voters — behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — but he has proven himself an impressive fundraiser and he has amassed a following that has proven rather creepy at times.
All the same, Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig hit the nail on the head, saying O’Rourke was “kind of missing his calling as a youth pastor.”
The dentist livestream may be a good idea for outreach to iGen in 2020, but it will likely strike most Americans as a desperate attempt to attack Trump in any attention-grabbing medium. Denise McAllister called it “weird and narcissistic.” Tragically both for iGen and for America, it seems young people are increasingly “weird and narcissistic.” They should resist the urge toward narcissism, and the urge toward Beto.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.