Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, leaves after attending orientation for new members of Congress, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) joined Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night. Pirro began by displaying head-to-head matchups in the 2020 presidential race in the state of Texas which put Trump ahead of both Biden and Sanders by 2.6% and 2.4%, respectively. She noted that these margins were much tighter than they’d been in 2016 and asked Crenshaw if Texas was turning purple?
Crenshaw told Pirro that we can’t ignore the data. He said he speaks to a lot of young people and that our kids tend to vote for Democrats. “Kids are susceptible to the Democratic message. It’s about revolution, it’s about feeling good, it’s about giving you stuff. And it’s up to us to explain to our students and to our youth what that really means, what those false promises really are.”
On Saturday, Sanders tweeted a message to young adults telling them that “this is your election.” Crenshaw said, “What I had to point out was, ‘you know the Democrats’ plan is to actually increase senior citizen benefits and to tax young people to pay for it. These are totally unsustainable policies and they’re making our social security system go broke.’ We have to point these kinds of facts out to them.”
Pirro pointed out that employment for young people is up (along with virtually every other demographic), but they still seem to be attracted to socialism.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Crenshaw said. He continued:
Unemployment is down across all categories, there’s a plethora of jobs out there, there’s a huge amount of opportunity. Young people fundamentally want a gig economy where you can choose to sell your own labor and your own time. What do Democrats do? They attack the gig economy. One of the recent bills that they’ve passed would all but destroy the ability to independently contract and sell your labor and time as you want to do.
I don’t think young people understand what these Democrat policies actually are because, again, they’re susceptible to this romantic language of revolution and socialism and everybody living together and looking out for one another. And of course, we should look out for one another, but we have to do so at the community level. You can’t pretend that you’re more moral because you ask the government to do something that you yourself are not willing to do. That’s basically what socialism is.
He also said that we need to be pointing out that life is better today than it was four years ago, across every metric.
Biden has to make a very difficult argument that we should go back in time to four years ago into the Obama presidency when we were on the slowest recovery that we’ve ever had after a recession. And here’s an important statistic that we need to point out. The CBO estimated that we would have five million less jobs than we do, back in September 2016.
So, what does that mean? It means that the baseline of job growth was way lower under the Obama presidency.
So, is Texas turning purple because the state’s young people are misunderstanding the Democrats’ message? It might be a less vibrant shade of red, but it’s not quite purple.
President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by nine points.
There are very few state general election polls conducted this early on, but I did find one SurveyUSA poll conducted between February 21-22, 2016 which showed Trump with a three point lead. However, FiveThirtyEight (a website that specializes in political statistics) adjusted Trump’s lead to 6% due to “other” factors.
By June, that lead had widened to the 7-9% range and discounting some of the outliers, a low of 2% and a high of 25%, it remained there.
Republicans have been very concerned that Texas may be turning purple, or even worse, blue. Their fears are not unjustified, but I think the reality is not quite as dire as the Democrats proclaim it to be. The population of Texas has grown significantly, far outpacing the rest of the country, particularly in the cities.
NPR reports that younger and more racially diverse Texans are turning out to vote. Overall turnout in the state was noticeably heavier in 2018 than in previous elections. Beto O’Rourke came close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz.
Also, being a border state, it is true that the state’s Hispanic population has increased quite dramatically. But Democrats may be making a mistake in assuming they will all vote Democratic or that they will vote at all.
An election was held in January (2020) for an open state House seat in Fort Bend County, Texas, a suburb of Houston. (The Republican incumbent had resigned to take a position at the University of Texas.) Democrats in the state viewed this contest as a bellwether.
The Democrats focused intensely on winning this race. According to Republican political strategist Karl Rove:
Democrats, eager to set the tone for 2020, piled into the race with money, endorsements, technology, lists and volunteers to help Elizabeth Markowitz defeat her Republican opponent. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg all endorsed Ms. Markowitz. Mr. Bloomberg even carved out time from his presidential campaign to go door-to-door with her. Former presidential candidates Julián Castro and Robert Francis O’Rourke also canvassed neighborhoods.
Calling the race “the most important election (yet) in 2020,” the former El Paso congressman said a victory could help turn Texas blue and “build momentum” in the state for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee echoed Mr. O’Rourke’s enthusiasm, saying that flipping the district would be “earth-shattering.” The Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee called the race “a dead heat” in the campaign’s final week.
In the end, the Republican won the election 58% to 42%.
While Texas may not be turning blue, Republicans have to get the message out, especially to younger voters, about how exactly the Democrats’ proposed policies will affect them. One of my sons came home from college and told me I should become more tolerant politically. I think I did a pretty good job of straightening him out! But the message really sunk in when he received his first real paycheck. He was astonished at the number and total amount of the deductions. And because sometimes I just can’t control my impulses, I said he could expect those deductions to increase noticeably if he were to vote for a Democrat.
(Relevant segment begins at 36:00.)
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