In Texas, a growing number of young liberal politicians believe they can finally turn the conservative state blue by adopting a progressive platform.
Two years ago, Julie Oliver lost a House race in the 25th congressional district of Texas, based in suburban Austin, by nine percentage points – a much closer margin than the 20 points that Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican, won in 2016. This year the race can be even tighter.
“The things we were talking about two years ago that looked drastic don’t seem so drastic today,” said Ms Oliver, who was endorsed by Mr Biden last month. “Universal health care doesn’t sound radical. Universal Basic Income doesn’t sound that radical. These are popular ideas. “
Others in the state fear their colleagues are forgetting the lessons of recent history. In 2008, Democrats took control of Congress and the White House. But after passing the Affordable Care Act and pushing a climate bill through the House, they lost seats in the midterm elections and their majority in the House.
“We have to remember the midterms are coming,” said Representative Henry Cuellar, a moderate Democrat from south Texas. “If the Liberals had a mandate, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would have won the primary. The mandate of the American public was to have someone more at the center.
Yet in an increasingly polarized country, that center may be changing.
As he waited for Mr Cornyn to address the crowd at Plano, Mark Wurst said he had come to embrace Trump’s brand of conservatism.
Longtime Republican, Mr. Wurst, 74, has volunteered at the George W. Bush Presidential Library for years. He was skeptical of Mr. Trump initially, but was impressed by his actions on immigration and trade – policies that radically diverged from Mr. Bush’s approach.