by WorldTribune Staff, February 1, 2019
Showing up “six months before an election” isn’t good enough if Republicans want reliable support from the black and Latino communities, the lone black Republican in the House of Representatives said in a recent iTunes podcast.
A Pew Research Center survey released this week said that, in 2020, “Nonwhites will account for a third of eligible voters – their largest share ever – driven by long-term increases among certain groups, especially Hispanics.”
Rep. Will Hurd said “As a party, we’ll sometimes talk to the African-American community, or the Hispanic community, six months before an election. And Democrats are there every month, every year, year over year.”
Hurd, whose Texas district includes over 800 miles on the U.S.-Mexico border and is 71 percent Hispanic and 50 percent Democratic, said that “We have to engage people in areas that Republicans haven’t always gone to.”
“People ask me, ‘How did a black dude get elected in a Latino district?’ It’s real simple: Show up in communities and talk about things they care about,” Hurd said.
Hurd made the comments on the “Plaidcast” of Rep. Sean Duffy, a Republican and close adviser to President Donald Trump who says he has good ties to minorities in his Wisconsin district.
Duffy, who calls his podcast “Plaidcast” due to the red and black shirts he wore as a competitive lumberjack, said that “What people don’t understand is that politicians don’t show up where they don’t feel welcome. And the only way you start to feel welcome is by showing up. That’s how you actually win the hearts and minds of people and change what some might perceive of as the brand.”
Hurd went on to describe how he won over a Latino border community on the Rio Grande river.
“I’m in Eagle Pass, and I show up to a tardeada, tardeada is an afternoon party, and there’s about 400 people there and some local officials were in the band that was playing and they literally stopped playing when they saw me walk in. And I had 202 people come up to me and ask, ‘Why are you here?’ And my response was, ‘Because I like to drink beer and eat cabrito too.’ And the second time I showed up, guess what, people shook my hand. And the third time I showed up people would walk by and whisper, ‘I’m a Republican.’ And then the fourth time they told me about a problem. The fifth time I came in and solved that problem,” Hurd said.
“We have to engage people in areas that Republicans haven’t always gone to,” he said.
With the GOP base shrinking, said Hurd, “we have to appeal to people who may not necessarily identify with our brand; however, our principles of limited government, our principles of economic freedom, our principles of helping everybody move up the economic ladder, these are timeless things.”
Hurd added that Republicans are “not about groupthink. Everybody’s always asking why am I Republican? Because I have my own opinions and ideas. When you look at our friends on the other side of the aisle, there is a lot of groupthink going on, and that’s what’s even scarier.”