Would Beto O'Rourke be the Democrats top pick for the White House?
By Joe Harker
Remember how long Donald Trump has been in the White House? It's already time to prepare for his next election. More than halfway through the current incumbents first term the moment has come for politicians to announce their candidacies.
Among them is Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee who recently ran against Ted Cruz in Texas. Although he narrowly lost his campaign made him a highly recognisable name in the US and he is seen as a vibrant young prospect, he would make quite the opposite number to Trump.
Known to the public, apparently quite popular and able to give one of the most recognisable Republican senators a scare in what should be their heartland, O'Rourke's bid for the presidency will garner a lot of attention.
Saying the US faced a "defining moment of truth", O'Rourke declared he was running for president with the intention of becoming the Democrats choice to take on Trump at the next election.
O'Rourke said his key policies would be healthcare, jail reform, an end to trade wars, an increase in the minimum wage and more investment in rural America.
He has little political experience but appears to possess a talent for winning over voters, particularly new generations of young Americans. In Texas he did better than any Democrat has done for decades.
If that success can transfer from state to nation then he could capitalise on dissatisfaction with a Trump presidency and decisively oust the Republicans from the White House.
The Counter Claim:
However, he might have come to the party a little too late. Democratic frontrunners Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris already have their campaigns up and running, having announced their runs weeks ago.
He also represents a riskier option that the other, more experienced politicians vying to become president. Perhaps his ability to gain support in an area few expected him to do much with will translate into significant gains across the US but then again perhaps not.
His ideas have also been denounced as "lightweight" compared to some of his biggest rivals in the primaries. Whereas Sanders, Harris and Elizabeth Warren have clear policies, O'Rourke is currently channeling feeling more than substance.
When he has to debate more experienced rivals will he be able to rely on his charm and popularity, or will he come off as a likeable but lightweight option?
O'Rourke enters a crowded field with 15 Democrats already having thrown their hat into the ring. While some will fall away quickly others will campaign for the long haul.
The frontrunners in early polls appear to be Bernie Sanders, who ran in the primaries against Hillary Clinton in 2016, and former vice president Joe Biden, who is yet to announce whether he is running or not.