(CNN)What lies between a failed Texas Senate run and a possible 2020 presidential bid? TMI.
Being Beto: How 2020 is shaping up to be the TMI election
Since losing the Texas senate race, now-former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke has veered from stream of consciousness essays about life and exercise to just streaming everything.
That's what Instagrammers found Thursday when O'Rourke took everyone where no one wants to go, and beamed live images of himself, dental tools crammed into his open mouth, about to flip the camera to interview his hygienist about life on the border.
The nascent 2020 campaign is turning into a sort of Truman Show in reverse, where the candidates control the camera and are pulling us into their lives.
The interviews O'Rourke has offered this week aren't must-see TV and they'll never rate like The Apprentice, but behind the tedium of talking to a woman while apparently picking his kid up from sports practice, O'Rourke did accomplish the task of making life in a border city look about as humdrum and crisis free as possible.
Maybe this is the natural progression from a President who tweets at all hours about whatever is on his mind to a possible challenger who who has to tell people apparently at his child's sports practice that he's filming them before asking them about their daily lives.
O'Rourke has been fine-tuning his program.
When President Donald Trump gave a scripted 9-minute speech to the nation about the crisis on the border with Mexico, O'Rourke streamed live from El Paso for more than 90 minutes, bringing a doughnut to his friend in a beautiful restored craftsman to talk about the border, look at his record collection, and generally just let everyone take part in Being Beto. Note: O'Rourke ultimately ate most of the doughnut.
If a network reality TV show like the ones that made Trump a star are all about manufactured drama and plot twists, O'Rourke's live streams are notable for resembling boring real life. They're part Robert Altman, part PBS.
He'll take his phone, his social media and his show on the road, driving across the country, presaging that possible presidential run. Will it be Facebook Live or Instagram where he streams behind the scenes of his just-announced Oprah interview?
The master of the form is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose social media power has eclipsed just about every Democrat but Barack Obama.
Her posts about life as a new congresswoman are genuine and engaging. And in addition to her progressive positions, they have positioned her as the generational antidote to the guarded discipline of Nancy Pelosi.
Ocasio-Cortez is also relatable on social media because she's a digital native, unlike, say, Elizabeth Warren, who brought followers into her kitchen for a Michelob Ultra on New Year's Eve when she announced she was exploring a presidential run. O'Rourke was somehow drinking champagne in an igloo that night.
A wide-open and enormous Democratic field will only put pressure on candidates to appear relatable and genuine. They'll have to find voters where they are, on their phones, in their feeds.
In addition to everything else it does, the election could help answer the question of how far into a candidate's life voters want to go.