Award-winning actor,Samuel Ajibola, aka ‘Spiff’ in the television series, ‘The Johnsons’, who recently fulfilled the traditional obligations of taking his bride home, has opened up on the signs he saw that made him tie the knot officially, with his bride. He also spoke about raising children and how his boyish looks affected him.
In an interview with Saturday Beats, the love-struck actor, who described himself as a very lucky man, said their union was destined to happen at the right time.
When he was asked the signs that made him certain that he had found his missing rib, the actor said, “Right from primary school, I knew that I was either going to settle down with an Igbo woman or a white lady. But I had an 80 per cent chance of settling down with an Igbo woman who is fair and comes from a Catholic family. Those were the traits of the girls I was usually attracted to. But for my spouse, she had some features that reminded me of my mum when she was younger and since I have so much resemblance to my dad, I knew it was going to be easy to settle down with her. I’m also in tune with my spiritual life, so I knew it was meant to be. I saw the signs and messages and I wasn’t going to take chances. When she met my parents, they were also of the opinion that she would be a great wife.
Audio:Listen to this beautiful track (Kayode – Pemi Lori Ago)
“To be honest, my fiancée is a beautiful soul full of happiness and she is a great person. So, it was not hard convincing my parents that she is good for me. My parents are not tribalists– they were open to receiving anybody. I also got a warm reception from my in-laws too. Ours was just a kingdom wedding that was destined to happen. We courted for about two years but we had known a long time that we were destined for each other. We were just waiting for the right time.”
And about his recently concluded wedding, Spiff said, “My wedding was a huge success. We shook Anambra town. A young prince from the west came in search of his own princess.
Speaking about the reactions that trailed the news of his engagement, the actor with boyish looks, said he was long overdue to settle down.
“To be honest, for some years now, I had been long overdue to settle down. But most people did not have an idea about it because I look very young and I play young characters most of the time. So, marriage was not what a lot of people or fans ever imagined for me. But I knew that I was of age and I needed to settle down soon to move on to the next phase in life.
“At the point that I knew she was the one for me, I wasn’t going to waste time anymore. As soon as we started getting along and both families had met each other, we were just counting down until when we were ready for it,” he said.
And about raising a family, he added, “I’m not considering a large family. We are planning (to have) not more than three children, considering the population of Nigeria. It’s really hard to raise children here.”
It has been a long time coming, it has even been alluded to in some Sci-Fi series such as Incorporated, where in the near future a corporation runs a country and is also a state in its own right. With Facebook earlier in 2019 officially unveiling plans to launch Libra, its own (along with other corporate partners) digital currency, in 2020, it is almost safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg’s (despite being a public company, Facebook’s share structure and voting rights afford Zuckerberg a lot of control and power) social network is almost a country in its own right.
With approximately 2 billion monthly active users as reported at the end of 2018, even if you had to account for duplicate and fake accounts, it would still measure up as one of the largest populations any country has on the planet.
If you add WhatsApp, considering that the messaging app’s users will also be able to transact using Libra (once, or rather if, it eventually launches), with its reported 1,5 billion active users (although some are already Facebook users), you are looking at a size of a country like one we have never witnessed before.
Welcome to the .
Strong political opposition
It didn’t take long after the official announcement of Libra earlier in the year that three countries, France, England, and Germany, started displaying signs that they were feeling threatened by Facebook & Co.’s newly proposed digital currency. Specifically, France’s Finance Minister stated unequivocally that Libra cannot be a replacement for sovereign currencies.
So far, it has not been an easy ride for Libra since that official announcement earlier in 2019. What looked like a good list of partners has been reduced with several of its (Libra Association) member companies deciding to pull their membership and support for Facebook’s proposed digital currency. It all started with PayPal withdrawing from the Libra Association, this was then followed by Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago who all announced that they will no longer be participating nor supporting Libra.
The withdrawals, which ended up leaving Libra without any major global payments companies as members, were politically motivated as the United States Senate sent a letter to the various Libra Association member organizations CEOs urging them “to proceed with caution until Facebook is able to provide real answers to you.”
Despite this strong political opposition to Libra by various countries and regulators, which has also seen Facebook being hauled before the USA’s policy makers to answer questions about the planned digital currency, I still think there is a high probability that not only will Libra launch in 2020, but it has better than average chances of gaining traction.
This is despite those involved in the Libra project at Facebook stating that there is no clear product roadmap nor a s et launch date.
However, important to note that Patrick Ellis, one of the board members of the Libra Association, confirmed to Reuters that Libra would launch during 2020, but couldn’t provide any indication of when or even the initial markets it would be launched in.
Before I elaborate on why I think it will succeed, what will it mean for your money to be controlled and managed by Facebook?
Your money in Facebook’s control
To further understand why some countries, including the USA, have been vocally opposing Libra in public, the letter that The United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services wrote to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg (COO at Facebook), and David Marcus (CEO of Facebook subsidiary, Calibra), gives us a few hints in my opinion.
Firstly, as compared to say, Bitcoin, it is easier and possible to write to Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Sandberg regarding Libra compared to trying to write to Satoshi Nakamoto. In this case, there are real people and organizations that can be held accountable. Secondly, and as they allude to in the letter, the policy makers feel that Libra is a threat to the US Dollar and the country’s monetary policy, despite it being merely a stablecoin and not a cryptocurrency in the strictest of terms.
There’s also the matter that should Libra ever get into trouble (eg. not be able to guarantee customers withdrawals etc.), the US government in one way or another would need to step in to protect Americans as we’ve seen it do before with some of the country’s large banks (side note: this is exactly what Bitcoin avoids, but alas. A discussion for another day).
However, more importantly for us in Africa is, does Libra offer any of us any value?
Does it help us with anything we are struggling with currently?
Does it make life easier?
To use and transact in Libra, users will have to download and run the official wallet, Calibra (a subsidiary company of Facebook). From what I’ve seen and what has so far led me to say in its current form Libra will struggle to gain traction (unless they address the following two issues) is that to use Calibra one will require a bank account and a government issued ID.
It’s no secret that Africa has a high number of unbanked people mainly as a result of low income and unemployment. As such, it is mind boggling that a product punting financial inclusion would require users to first have a bank account before using it. However, it’s possible that this will change by the time Facebook launches the digital currency and wallet in 2020. If it doesn’t, it could prove to be a stumbling block for gaining traction especially across Africa.
The second issue, which also leads me to explaining why I think Libra will succeed, is around the requirement of government issued ID.
On the surface, in most countries in Africa at least, the requirement for a government issued ID could prove a real stumbling block to adoption. In many African countries, eg. Nigeria, there is no real organized government ID system. Immediately this makes it rather interesting how Facebook is going to verify identity in such cases.
However, Facebook and its Libra partners seem to already have thought of this and have a possible solution in mind. A solution which, once it can be implemented, will make a strong argument that Facebook is now essentially a country.
Facebook’s possible Trojan Horse
Earlier in 2019 when the noise around Libra was at its peak and being frustrated that no African policymakers we commenting on it or providing any clarification on how they view Facebook’s proposed digital currency that is mainly targeted a developing countries, I set out to read the Libra white paper for the third time. Somehow, I found something in the Libra white paper I had missed or wasn’t paying enough attention to previously.
Hidden (in plain sight) deep in the guts of a white paper light on details and heavy on marketing talk about financial inclusion and the world’s 2 billion without adequate financial services are two sentences that seem to be placed nonchalantly atop page 9 of the Libra white paper, yet they could have far reaching impact.
“An additional goal of the [Libra] association is to develop and promote an open identity standard. We believe that decentralized and portable digital identity is a prerequisite to financial inclusion and competition.”
This, the development of an open standard for digital IDs, as mentioned, could mean that Facebook already has a solution for part of this problem. The other part of this solution is that Facebook previously acquired a company that verifies government issued IDs in 2018. These two solutions combined could help onboard and verify people onto Libra and from there start issuing them with verified Facebook IDs.
Considering that Facebook, along with its subsidiary platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, is home to over 2 billion people, could this be the new global ID standard that will surpass and be more trusted than government issued IDs?
Although I could not find any further details on the proposed Libra digital ID and Facebook have also refused to comment when I asked, in my opinion it has a far bigger impact than the proposed currency as, if adopted and rolled out successfully it solves one of the web’s biggest issues, trust. I can already envision how it fits in with some of its other acquisitions, for example, Facebook acquired a face recognition tool that it incorporated into its main Facebook platform that would identify faces in the photos you post automatically and suggest you tag them. This, could possibly be used outside of government issued IDs given the trove of (tagged) photos Facebook already has of billions of people around the world, to verify identity.
This to me is Facebook’s Trojan Horse with Libra a necessary part but of lesser significance than the ability for Facebook to be able to run a platform that can verify and vouch for the identity of billions of people independent from any government.
Managing the flow of money gives you some power. Handling trust and identities gives you control, and essentially, makes you a nation state.
A virtual nation state
As far as why I now think this completes the idea of Facebook becoming a country, it’s simply because of the leverage it will hold over some countries especially across the continent who not only do not have near as accurate data about their citizens like Facebook has, but are struggling to maintain the value and usefulness of their own sovereign currencies (e.g. Zimbabwe).
At the heart of it (Libra) people just want a quicker and cheaper way to transact and send money, and already in Africa, many are used to using mobile money for their daily living.
Apart from having such a huge virtual population, a currency, and possibly its own verifiable IDs for its citizens, Facebook also does not fall under any single country’s jurisdiction. For example, its US-based users are governed by a corporation registered in the USA, its users in the rest of the world are governed by a corporation registered in Ireland, while in China it works under different laws. This not only applies to laws but where it pays taxes too. So, as such, you cannot exactly call it a US company as it is not bound any single country’s laws and to make matters worse (or good if you’re Facebook) it is a virtual entity.
It really, in my view, has officially become the People’s Republic of Facebook (and like its namesake, it’s not a democracy 😊)
BATON ROUGE, La. >> Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has stunned Republicans again, narrowly winning a second term today as the Deep South’s only Democratic governor and handing Donald Trump another gubernatorial loss this year.
In the heart of Trump country, the moderate Edwards cobbled together enough cross-party support with his focus on bipartisan, state-specific issues to defeat Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.
Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor’s race and sizable losses in Virginia’s legislative races, the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans as they head into the 2020 presidential election. Trump fought to return the seat to the GOP, making three trips to Louisiana to rally against Edwards.
In a victory rally of his own late today, Edwards thanked supporters who chanted the familiar Louisiana refrain, “Who dat!” and he declared, “How sweet it is!”
He added, “And as for the president, God bless his heart” — a phrase often used by genteel Southerners to politely deprecate someone.
Trump had made the runoff election between Edwards and Rispone a test of his own popularity and political prowess heading into the 2020 presidential race. Today Trump went on Twitter in a vigorous plug for Rispone.
The president’s intense attention motivated not only conservative Republicans, but also powered a surge in anti-Trump and black voter turnout that helped Edwards.
Democrats who argue that nominating a moderate presidential candidate is the best approach to beat Trump are certain to point to Louisiana’s race as bolstering their case. Edwards, a West Point graduate, opposes gun restrictions, signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans and dismissed the impeachment effort as a distraction.
Still, while Rispone’s loss raises questions about the strength of Trump’s coattails, its relevance to his reelection chances are less clear. Louisiana is expected to easily back Trump next year, and Edwards’ views in many ways are out of step with his own party.
In the final days as polls showed Edwards with momentum, national Republicans beefed up assistance for Rispone. That wasn’t enough to boost the GOP contender, who wasn’t among the top-tier candidates Republican leaders hoped would challenge Edwards as they sought to prove that the Democrat’s longshot victory in 2015 was a fluke.
He had ties to unpopular former Gov. Bobby Jindal and offered few details about his agenda. Edwards also proved to be a formidable candidate, with a record of achievements.
Working with the majority-Republican Legislature, Edwards stabilized state finances with a package of tax increases, ending the deficit-riddled years of Jindal. New money paid for investments in public colleges and the first statewide teacher raise in a decade.
Edwards expanded Louisiana’s Medicaid program, lowering the state’s uninsured rate below the national average. A bipartisan criminal sentencing law rewrite he championed ended Louisiana’s tenure as the nation’s top jailer.
Rispone, the 70-year-old owner of a Baton Rouge industrial contracting company, hitched his entire candidacy to Trump, introducing himself to voters in ads that focused on support for the president in a state Trump won by 20 percentage points.
But the 53-year-old Edwards, a former state lawmaker and former Army Ranger from rural Tangipahoa Parish, reminded voters that he’s a Louisiana Democrat, with political views that sometimes don’t match his party’s leaders.
“They talk about I’m some sort of a radical liberal. The people of Louisiana know better than that. I am squarely in the middle of the political spectrum,” Edwards said. “That hasn’t changed, and that’s the way we’ve been governing.”
Rispone framed himself in the mold of Trump, describing himself as a “conservative outsider” whose business acumen would help solve the state’s problems.
“We want Louisiana to be No. 1 in the South when it comes to jobs and opportunity. We have to do something different,” Rispone said. “We can do for Louisiana what President Trump has done for the nation.”
Rispone poured more than $12 million of his own money into the race. But he had trouble drawing some of the primary vote that went to Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, after harshly attacking Abraham in ads as he sought to reach the runoff.
Rispone also avoided many traditional public events attended by Louisiana gubernatorial candidates and sidestepped questions about his plans when taking office. He promised tax cuts, without saying where he’d shrink spending, and he pledged a constitutional convention, without detailing what he wanted to rewrite.
Both parties spent millions on attack ads and get-out-the-vote work, on top of at least $36 million spent by candidates.
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A Forest Green Rovers fan has died after attending his team’s last match, at Cambridge United.
The supporter suffered a cardiac arrest before Saturday’s League Two fixture at the Abbey Stadium.
On Monday, Nailsworth-based Forest Green wished the fan involved a speedy recovery. It thanked all the Cambridge United staff, stewards and supporters for their speedy response, and members of the emergency services who performed CPR on the man.
But this afternoon Cambridge announced on its website that he had died.
It said: “It is with a great deal of sadness that Cambridge United today confirm the Forest Green Rovers supporter who suffered a cardiac arrest before Saturday’s fixture at the Abbey Stadium passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“The football club remains extremely proud and thankful for the supporters, stewards and medical personnel involved in providing the immediate aid required at the ground on Saturday. Their quick response ensured the individual was able to be transferred to the Royal Papworth Hospital in a condition which gave him the best chances of survival.
“We are deeply saddened this has not led to a happier outcome on this occasion, but are grateful to have such a skilled and professional match day team who have highlighted their ability to keep the Abbey Stadium and those within it safe in the event of an emergency situation.
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“We would like to offer our sincerest of condolences to the individual’s family and friends and our thoughts are also with Forest Green Rovers Football Club at this sad time.”
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Wow, there is good news for people in countries supported by Facebook who have not yet use the Facebook ad to advertise before. Basically, most people want to know how to create Facebook ad account. Particularly, set up for manual payments. Therefore the manual ad account is one that uses a manual payment method.
Furthermore, if you are Facebook users and you want to make use of Facebook Advertising then you need to know how the create a Facebook ad account set up for manual payments work. More so, this will help you not to make mistakes that you may not be able to change later in the future.
How the Facebook Ad Works – Create Facebook Ad Account
Basically, when a user wants to advertise on Facebook, you must set up an Ad account. This account will propel the user to create the Facebook Ad and as well show all the features of Facebook Advertising. However, after setting up the account you can pay for the ads by your credit or debit card.
Furthermore, a user can set the Facebook Ad to run whichever way they choose. Also, they can adjust the time period they want the Ad to run on Facebook. Besides that, users can as well choose a referred location of people that the Ad will reach or that are more likely to see the Ad.
Therefore, this is a great feeling to know that you can create content for a particular location of people and as well the whole world. Not only that you can still set the about you want to use in showing ads or boost your post, website link on Facebook. Also, you still have the option to pause an ad that is running and resume it to run again.
About Creating Facebook Ads
Particularly, when you create Facebook Ad account, you can set it up to manual payments option. However, the option of automatic payment is the default one. Therefore, you can as well it to the manual option.
Furthermore, this enables you to add money to your prepaid account balance using your Ad account. However, without this process of adding funds to your account, your Ad will fail to run. Basically, when the Ad starts to run, Facebook will then start to deduct money from your account balance. More so, this deduction is carried out the way you want as they will follow the funds’ range which you choose.
Things to Put into Consideration
There are certain things users need to consider before creating Facebook Ads. Therefore, below are most of the things users should put into consideration
However, if you are already running ads on Facebook using the automatic payment option you will not be able to switch it to manual payments. Therefore, this is just the direct opposite of the first instance.
How to Create New Ad Account with Manual Payments
The first thing you need to do is to enter your Ad Facebook account.
Therefore, while entering your account info always ensures that the currency and account country u choose matches with the manual payment you’re using.
After confirming your Ad purchase, you will need to pick a payment method. Furthermore, you can then select manual payments and hit on the Continue
Always do reviews of the confirmation screen page before clicking the Continue
Therefore, there are instructions to follow on the page, in order to add money to your account. Mind you these instructions chances depending on the payment method you choose.
After all this process your Ad will then be set for manual payments. Therefore, when adding money to your account, it will go through immediately. However, this depends on the payment method you choose as well.
The post Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising appeared first on Bingdroid.
In a bid to increase access to off-grid solar electricity in parts of Africa that currently lack it, a startup called VentureBuilder launched yesterday.
VentureBuilder wants to provide capital to off-grid solar startups that cater to the African polulace. The venture is backed by Facebook, USAID, DOEN Foundation, and Shell Foundation.
According to Saskia Werther, program manager at the DOEN Foundation, the foundation has supported dozens of energy access initiatives over the years.
“We believe VentureBuilder can be a gamechanger in supporting and scaling indigenous enterprises across Africa, in areas most in need.”
Saskia Werther, program manager at the DOEN Foundation
VentureBuilder has been in development since 2017. Facebook provided one of the major supports at this stage, alongside Open Capital Advisors and Catalyst Off-grid Advisors.
Together, the companies brought years of experience gathered in advising, building and financing solar startups to the project.
Raising a new type of capital for startups
The capital offered by VentureBuilder operates a new investment model. It is called a “patient” capital.
With over 600 million people in Africa living in off-grid zones and lacking access to electricity, there is an obvious market for these off-grid solar startups. However, the solar startups often experience a variety of challenges, one of which is distribution.
Here is how VentureBuilder wants to solve this challenge.
The Facebook-backed company will liase with key distributors of off-grid solar products. This is to help local solar startups widen their distribution and reach more people.
VentureBuilder also recognises that capacity building is one challenge faced by solar startups which prevents them from expanding.
VentureBuilder aims to solve this capacity challenge through trainings. The company will help the existing solar startups to scale by providing technical training and support that is relevant to the startups.
“We’re excited to partner with these local businesses and provide them with the human and financial resources they need to sustainably and profitably scale their impact”.
Dan Murphy, Managing Director of VentureBuilder.
More and more off-grid solar startups are individually innovating products that can help Africa have sufficient and clean electricity. VentureBuilder’s launch could increase their chances of survival.
The post Facebook-Backed VentureBuilder Launches to Help Struggling Off-Grid Solar Startups Reach More People in Africa appeared first on Technext.
Tuesdays 2-0 reverse at BMO Field was Gregg Berhalters 16th match as US head coach. On the surface a record of nine wins, two draws and five losses appears acceptable for a program rebuilding its roster and its self-respect after the shock of missing out on the 2018 World Cup. But the real test of Berhalters worth is not in how the US fillet the minnows. It doesnt really matter that they filled their boots against the likes of Cuba, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana.
What counts is that the US have lost twice on home soil to their biggest rivals, Mexico (1-0 in the Concacaf Gold Cup final and 3-0 in a friendly); were especially brittle in defeats to Venezuela and now Canada; and drew 1-1 with both Chile and an under-strength Uruguay, two of their strongest opponents this year.
Put another way, since Berhalters appointment was announced last December there have been no results that exceeded expectations against good teams; there is currently no reason to believe that the US would be anything but makeweights at Qatar 2022, should they qualify. And there is a lack of clear evidence that the team is trending in the right direction, despite individual positives such as the continued improvement of the midfielder Weston McKennie.
Given the road trip tribulations endured during the last World Cup qualifying cycle and the inexperience of many of the current crop it is ludicrous (ticket income aside) that this was Berhalters first away game. If the Americans could not handle a half-empty MLS stadium in Toronto, how badly might they fare in Mexico City, against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, or in the Costa Rican capital, San Jos?
The US have not won on the road since they beat Cuba 2-0 in Havana in October 2016. Tuesdays outcome extends that streak to 10 matches without a victory. The defining image of the evening for the Americans? Christian Pulisic being substituted after 60 fruitless minutes and then howling and gesturing in existential agony, Americas brightest star devolved into Munchs The Scream in shorts and shinpads.
Berhalter told reporters afterwards that the 21-year-old has been battling flu-like symptoms. Perhaps he also feels sore from carrying the team on his back for three years. A below-par Pulisic, whether through illness, injury or rust from his lack of minutes at Chelsea, would present a grave problem for an American side that has few good attacking ideas without him.
Still, key man off the field and 1-0 down with half an hour to play? That is a situation where a team might look to its coach to conjure an inspired substitution or a tactical masterstroke. But the response to Alphonso Davies 63rd minute goal was a string of sideways passes, possession without purpose, as the US chased the game with as much cutting edge as a preschoolers pair of plastic safety scissors. Canada continued to look quicker, more coherent and more dangerous and added a second on the break through Lucas Cavallini in stoppage time.
As well as seeking to end a 17-match winless streak against their neighbours, Canada were on the hunt for Fifa ranking points in order to rise above El Salvador, the worlds 72nd best team. The top six Concacaf nations in Fifas rankings next June will go into the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying round, which delivers three automatic berths for a trip to Qatar.
The Americans, meanwhile, looked like they felt it would be uncool to get too worked up about a Concacaf Nations League group fixture. I wasnt happy with the desire that we displayed tonight, Berhalter told reporters. That is a jarring admission. Spirit used to be a given whenever a US side took the field at least until the dog days of the Jrgen Klinsmann regime.
Did the team think they could glide past an improving Canada on skill alone? A misguided belief, if so. Berhalter does not have a vintage crop of players at his disposal. And the US Soccer Federation poured pressure on itself, and the 46-year-old, by taking a year to appoint a permanent coach following the World Cup qualifying debacle, then choosing a low-profile figure who made his name as a tactician at a blue-collar MLS club.
Expectations remain high, even as the talent pool has grown more shallow. All the more important, then, that Berhalter lives up to his reputation as the method man – the clear-headed coach who devised a system that squeezed the best out of his players at the Columbus Crew.
The start of World Cup qualifying is still 11 months away, but another poor performance and result when Canada face the US in Orlando next month would see concern escalate into alarm. Ten months is not a long tenure and is less time than it took to complete the hiring process but patience is rightly in short supply among the fanbase, who have had enough of being told that the team is in learning mode and that setbacks are growing pains.
Suppressing doubts about Klinsmann and hanging on until after the start of the qualifying cycle before replacing him failed to work out last time. How long are Berhalters bosses prepared to wait for him to mould a team that is assertive, rather than aspirational? They are unlikely to be in a hurry.
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After five months of struggling to find his place in the crowded Democratic field, a campaign reboot following the early August shooting that left 22 dead in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, has moved O’Rourke into a position where he appears more comfortable than he was in the first five months of the race: An outsider attempting to lead a movement.
His message, in campaign stops, emails to supporters and social media posts, has shifted in a way that shows his campaign has found an animating cause. His language has changed, with O’Rourke — an at-times profane campaigner in Texas who early in the race promised he’d stop dropping f-bombs — now back to cursing regularly, a decision being heard by supporters as plainly communicating the urgency of the issue and by critics as an attention-grabbing gimmick.
So has his travel schedule: O’Rourke is setting aside the traditional path through the early voting states in favor of a new emphasis on those that vote on Super Tuesday. He’s campaigning with down-ballot candidates, visiting downtrodden Democratic Party organizations and stopping in cities and towns facing tumult.
It’s tough to tell whether Democratic voters are giving O’Rourke a fresh look in light of his new approach: A recent CNN poll found him with 5% support, which his backers hoped was a sign O’Rourke was beginning to climb out of the low single digits. But an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll this week showed him with just 1% support. Given the margin of error, it’s possible O’Rourke hasn’t moved much at all.
Battling with Buttigieg
O’Rourke has drawn headlines since Democrats’ third primary debate in Houston last week — the one his aides said he prepared for the least, with zero sessions behind a podium and the one day that had been devoted to readying him for the showdown scrapped in favor of a last-minute trip to Midland, Texas, after a shooting there.
Days before the debate, the Democratic National Committee passed on a warning to campaigns that ABC would be broadcasting the debate with no delay — which meant no chance to bleep out curse words. The warning didn’t name O’Rourke directly, but there was little doubt why it had been issued.
On stage, O’Rourke delivered one of the night’s most memorable moments when he advocated for mandatory buy-backs of assault-style rifles, telling a cheering audience: “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We are not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore.”
The comment led to criticism from Republicans and Democrats — and it gave O’Rourke an opportunity to brawl with the foe his supporters have been angry at since he mocked O’Rourke’s habit of “standing on things” in New Hampshire in early April: Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Coons’ prediction proved accurate on Wednesday, when Trump did just what he’d warned of, tweeting: “Dummy Beto made it much harder to make a deal. Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away. Will continue forward!”
As Buttigieg built establishment support and fundraising might, O’Rourke’s camp has seethed. His aides and backers note Buttigieg’s private flights and point out that O’Rourke often drives himself around the campaign trail (and recently took the Bolt Bus from New York to Boston). They see — and want voters to see — a clash that’s geographical, with Buttigieg representing the industrial Midwest where Democratic support has slipped and O’Rourke from the Sun Belt, a more diverse region where the party is gaining strength.
Even as O’Rourke supporters relish the fight with Buttigieg, the bigger picture of the race shows the steep hill O’Rourke must climb. Buttigieg a week ago released his first television advertisement in Iowa — a luxury O’Rourke likely cannot afford, since Buttigieg raised $25 million in 2019’s second quarter to O’Rourke’s $3.6 million.
O’Rourke’s campaign sees evidence this new approach is working. Aides said the three days following the debate were O’Rourke’s best fundraising days since April, the month after he launched his presidential bid.
The day after a gunman who police say had posted online a racist screed warning of a “Hispanic invasion” killed 22 people in an El Paso Walmart, O’Rourke had a moment he worried might have ended his chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
He was on his way to his van after a vigil outside Las Americas, an immigration advocacy center in El Paso — already emotional and unable to find his wife, who had been there, too — when he found himself boxed in between two cars and a handful of reporters behind the building. One asked him whether there was anything Trump could do to make things better.
Everyone there knew they had seen a significant moment. Two O’Rourke aides nervously approached this reporter, asking about what had happened. Soon afterward, on Twitter, O’Rourke’s comment went viral.
O’Rourke, meanwhile, was on his way to another vigil. He looked at his wife and said, “Look, I f—ed up,” he told The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere in a podcast interview this month.
In the moment, O’Rourke said, it felt “like maybe this is over.”
“Nobody spoke in the van. I didn’t speak. I was pissed. I was pissed at myself, I was pissed at the world, I was pissed at that question. I was pissed that we were even having this conversation — like, how in the world could we be asking ourselves these questions as civilized, intelligent human beings, who report the news, make the news, you know, report on the policy, make the policy? Why are we even asking, is Donald Trump racist? Did he have something to do with this? Could he make this better?” O’Rourke said.
“I think I was mostly mad at myself: Why have I not been able to figure this out? And why have I not been able to make these connections more clear? Why have we not been able to change this?”
O’Rourke said he didn’t consciously work through what he might do other than run for president. Instead, he said, his thought after the shooting was, “What am I doing, at all?”
Did he consider dropping out? What had happened in his hometown, he said, “just down in my bones or my essence, made me question myself. And so to some degree, yes.”
There were also decisions to be made — such as whether O’Rourke would join the rest of the Democratic field and visit the Iowa State Fair, one of the rituals of the presidential campaign trail.
“I was like, f— no, uh-uh,” he said. “I can’t pretend. I would be pretending.”
“And to some degree, you’re performing when you’re running for office, right?” O’Rourke said. “You’re never fully, wholly, truly yourself, warts and all. You are on a stage and you’re projecting and you’re acting in a way that you want people to read and form their picture of you. No one can help that. … We’re all actors on that stage, and no one more so than perhaps someone running for president. But I couldn’t go do that.”
His decision to skip Iowa forced O’Rourke and his aides to have bigger-picture conversations about where he would go and what kind of campaign he would run moving forward.
At the same time, Trump’s administration had targeted undocumented workers in Mississippi in an immigration raid.
“The two seemed very connected to me in a very obvious way — this manner of terrorizing people and trying to terrify the country about immigrants and Hispanics and people who are really the most vulnerable and the most defenseless in America,” O’Rourke said. “And I said, I want to be there. I want to go there. And I want to go anywhere where people are being kept down or made to be afraid.”
His return to the campaign trailnearly two weeks later started with a speech in El Paso in which O’Rourke for the first time called for mandatory buy-backs of assault-style rifles, and said he would take a new route — with fewer performative stops in the early states and more visits to vulnerable or forgotten places across the country.
Since then, he has spent less time in the first four states to vote in the presidential primary process — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — and more in the Super Tuesday states.
Among those Super Tuesday state stops: O’Rourke has campaigned with down-ballot candidates in Virginia. He visited Skid Row in Los Angeles. He delivered a speech that drew a large online audience in front of Democrats in Arkansas. And he visited the Oklahoma City bombing memorial in Oklahoma.
The changes suggest O’Rourke’s strategy is merely to survive the first month ofprimary season and then begin racking up delegates in March, with Super Tuesday including his home state of Texas. In May, he tapped Jeff Berman, a delegate strategy veteran of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, as a senior adviser.
The new approach to his schedule, the gun control advocacy and the more direct — and sometimes foul — language are all part of his reaction to the shooting that he told The Atlantic “just, at a really deep, fundamental level, made me wonder what I’m doing or what I’ve ever been doing or what we are doing.”
“And all of the, you know, performance, the ritual, and the — you know, I don’t know, all the editing, that goes into speaking when you’re running for office,” he said, “just really evaporated or didn’t seem as important, or I didn’t even really know that I cared at that point.”