November 16, 2018


Houston Republican Dan Crenshaw's next mission: 'Make conservatism cool.' So far, so good (Kevin Diaz, Nov. 14, 2018, Houston Chronicle)

In a Weekly Standard interview in February, Crenshaw, now 34, warned Republicans about their white-haired image and affluent demographic. "You keep electing old, rich, white people to the seat -- you can expect the Republican party to be gone in 50 years," Crenshaw said. "We can't keep doing that. We have to make conservatism cool and exciting again." [...]

With little money at the start, his campaign relied heavily on social media like Facebook Live, Twitter and email blasts. He also sought out a younger audience than traditional Republican candidates, echoing the youth outreach of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, an ideological opposite who is credited with mobilizing young progressive voters across Texas, including the Second District.

"One thing he did consistently was not just the traditional political events, but gatherings of young people at bars, restaurants, brew pubs, sporting events," Steinhauser said of Crenshaw. "He really got outside of the normal political gatherings and went to social gatherings and civic spaces."

In a bid for recognition - and to add youth and vitality to his campaign - Crenshaw embarked on a five-day, 100-mile run in February across his district, which snakes around Houston from Bellaire in the south to Sherwood Trails in the north.

It was a quintessentially millennial act - one more commonly associated with young Democrats like O'Rourke, an avid runner.

"I have seen the face of the future of the Republican Party and the leadership of America," conservative radio host Michael Berry told Crenshaw's supporters at a primary election night party at the Cadillac Bar in May. "And it's wearing an eye patch."

His supporters give Crenshaw props for deep policy knowledge. He graduated from Tufts University and has a masters degree from Harvard University. Growing up in Ecuador and Colombia, he played soccer and speaks good Spanish.

Jacob Monty, a Houston attorney and GOP Latino activist who broke with Trump over his hard-line immigration rhetoric, credits Crenshaw with an equally conservative but more nuanced understanding of the border and immigration.

"He's not for open borders, he's not for amnesty, but his tone is very positive," Monty said. "He understands you can have a very conservative position, but you don't have to be mean-spirited. You don't have to demonize immigrants."

Monty cited an essay Crenshaw wrote for the National Review in July calling for more U.S. engagement south of the border: "Rebuilding the civic fabric of Central American countries is the only long-term solution to stemming the flow of illegal migration," Crenshaw wrote. "And without Mexico as a willing partner, the U.S. will continue to fight an impossibly uphill battle."

For Monty, who resigned last year from Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council, the essay was a departure from the current GOP's predominant tone on immigration. "When's the last time we had a congressman who wrote for the National Review?" he said. "Instead of just calling in to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Berry?"

Posted by at November 16, 2018 5:23 AM