Questions of culture and privilege rise as Texans vie for nomination

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Two Texans are now in the race for President. This week on State of Texas, we look at the potential path to the Democratic nomination for both candidates.

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke is getting the most media coverage. But former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro is touting strong support in the Lone Star State.

Castro released a list with 33 endorsements, including some members of Congress and more than a dozen state lawmakers. Most of them are Hispanic public officials.

“I think this time around, there’s going to be a lot more buzz about cultural appropriation with regards to Beto,” said Carlos Sanchez, Politics Editor at Texas Monthly. “I think with Ted Cruz it wasn’t much of an issue.  With Julián Castro, it will be.”

Cultural appropriation is one issue brought out in a TV attack ad targeting O’Rourke by the right-leaning Club For Growth. The ad paints O’Rourke as a privileged underachiever, whose campaign rollout “drips with white, male privilege.”

But the attacks may reflect that some GOP groups see O’Rourke as a threat.

“He called the Club For Growth ad the highest form of flattery,” said Texas Tribune reporter Alana Rocha. “They saw what he did here in Texas and how he helped down-ballot Democrats. I think he’s seen as a threat.”

As O’Rourke hits the campaign trail in Iowa, he’s playing to his strengths.

“Voters tend to reward charisma quite a bit,” said John Moritz, who reports for the USA Today Network. “The ability to connect with ordinary voters should accrue to Beto’s favor.”

But whether those connections translate to votes remains to be seen.

“As far as who’s resonating with Democrats, I think the jury’s still out,” said Sanchez.

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