[guest post by Dana]
On one hand, because the Republican ticket won the White House, some see that as proof that the Republican Party is doing just fine, thank you very much. But you don’t have to look too hard to see that, clearly there are problems. Real problems.
Two Texas congressmen, Rep. Will Hurd and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, recently discussed what the GOP needs to do in order to remain strong in the future. This in light of six Republican congressmen from Texas having announced that they will not seek re-election (including Hurd). It’s apparent from a few snippets of the interview below, that Hurd and Crenshaw have the same end-goals in mind, but see the getting-there a bit differently.
Hurd, who is the only black Republican in the House, wants to see the Republican Party more closely resemble the nation at large:
“I do believe that if the Republican Party doesn’t start looking like the rest of the country, there won’t be a Republican Party in this country,” Hurd told “Axios on HBO.”
Hurd said he’s talked with at least a dozen black Republicans who want to run for Congress in the last few weeks alone.
More than 1 in 4 members of the House of Representatives is a racial or ethnic minority, but only 10% of that group are Republicans.
Hurd, who won his re-election last year by just over 920 votes, says, “Texas is in play.”
“Texas is a purple state. Just because we don’t have a statewide elected Democrat doesn’t mean Texas is not already purple,” Hurd said. “We should be operating as if it’s purple.”
Crenshaw, on the other hand, doesn’t like what he sees as “identity politics”:
[Crenshaw] is skeptical of the idea of specifically recruiting non-white or younger candidates, but acknowledged that “people do want to hear that message from somebody who they can relate with.”
“I hate engaging in identity politics,” he said. “I just don’t take it as a given that because you’re nonwhite, that we should worry about you voting Democrat.”
“We would definitely like a more diverse candidate list and we’re definitely accomplishing that for the 2020 cycle.”
Crenshaw told “Axios on HBO” several factors are shaping the changes in Texas, including an influx of residents from bluer states, Trump’s non-traditional qualities and a bump in the proportion of younger voters.
“President Trump wasn’t as popular as maybe more traditional Republicans would be in Texas,” he said. “Millennials are overwhelmingly against Trump. I think that has a lot to do with it. I think it’s more of a personality distaste for him.”
What they are entirely in agreement about is that Republicans need to:
… show up, talk to everyone and articulate how conservatism is looking out for the people who don’t look like the rest of their party.
(Side note: That Republicans have an issue with just showing up and going into neighborhoods where they might not normally go and engaging with diverse communities, made me think of that time when an easy, no-brainer decision to just show up was a struggle…)
Anyway, clearly the Republicans need to persuade Americans as to why the GOP is more preferable than the Democratic party. Also, to reach out to different communities doesn’t signify a surrendering to identity politics. The numbers are just what they are: a dominant number of minority Americans have collectively and historically been wed to the Democratic party, to one degree or another. It therefore falls to the GOP to convince those Americans that there is a better alternative. Of course, there is also one significant hurdle to overcome when trying to convince Americans to come to the right side of the aisle… After all, you can say all the great things there are to say about conservatism, but when someone like Trump is at the helm, the task of persuading becomes all the more difficult.
[Ed. Only for the sake of time and debate am I equating the GOP with Conservatism. While I believe there is very little daylight left between the two major parties, I still think the GOP adheres more closely to Conservatism than any other group. In word, at least, if not necessarily in deed.]
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)