Stories by Alexi McCammond

Activist Democrats question whether Beto O'Rourke is one of them

O'Rourke during his concession speech in downtown El Paso. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Beto O'Rourke ran a decidedly progressive Senate campaign in 2018, especially for a Democrat running in deep-red Texas. But now activists on the left are questioning his ideology and if he's progressive enough to represent their party in 2020.

Why it matters: The left is where the energy is in today's Democratic Party. Nearly half of Democratic voters describe themselves as liberal, up 17 percentage points from a decade ago, according to Pew Research Center. After Bernie Sanders didn't get the nomination in 2016, expect the activist base that organized behind him to be even more demanding of all 2020 candidates.

Julián Castro takes first step toward 2020 presidential campaign

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro at a New York Times event. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for New York Times

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced today he's forming an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020. He will make his final decision about running on Jan. 12, per AP.

Why it matters: This gives Castro an early start for courting donors, potential campaign staffers and media attention. The 44-year-old former San Antonio mayor will have more time to build his name ID and brand, which is crucial if his fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke throws his hat in the ring, too.

Why Democrats are taking Beto seriously for 2020

Beto O'Rourke gives his election night concession speech
O'Rourke gives his concession speech in El Paso on election night. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Here's why the political world isn't writing off a potential presidential candidate who's mainly known for a failed Senate race: The last two presidents have been disruptive candidates who didn't have much political experience either — and who weren't the nominees the party establishments wanted.

Why it matters: Barack Obama had only been a U.S. senator for two years before launching his presidential campaign, and Donald Trump had never held elective office at all. Now, a new poll from the progressive group MoveOn suggests that Beto O'Rourke is poised to blow up the 2020 Democratic primary. That's a sign that it doesn't matter who the parties want anymore, because it's up to the voters.

More stories loading.