The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Republican Texas Congressman Will Hurd about how he managed to get re-elected in 2018 in a blueish district, going against the national outcome. Congressman Hurd’s story is great, but the closing of the article is a lesson for all Republicans moving forward in how to approach outreach and communicating with communities that might be new to us. In this episode, we explore what new approaches might look like, and why the old ones are useless.
The concluding portion of the article that was read in this episode:
He tells a story about his first visit to Eagle Pass, another border town. Mr. Hurd showed up to a tardeada, an afternoon party, where there were hundreds of people. At 6-foot-4 he’s hard to miss, and he recalls that the band stopped playing when he walked in. “Everybody asked the question: ‘Why are you here?’ ” he says. “My answer was, because I like to drink beer and eat cabrito”—roast kid goat—“too. And everybody laughed. And the second time I showed up, people actually shook my hand, all right? Third time I showed up, you’d have people walk by”—he drops to a conspiratorial whisper—“and be like, ‘I’m a Republican.’ Fourth time, people would talk about some of the problems that they had. Fifth time, I was able to talk about, ‘Hey, here’s the way we can solve it.’ ”
His share of the vote in that county has since risen from 18%, to 21%, to 27%. “Now, it’s not huge,” Mr. Hurd says, “but that delta is what makes up—you know, you put those together in 29 different places, and this is how you win.”