Julián Castro on Texas and the fight for masks and vaccines in schools


As the COVID situation continues to worsen across the country, particularly in red states like Texas and Florida, GOP leaders are retreating and refusing to adopt mask or vaccination policies, putting millions of lives at risk. Eleveld had this to say about what she sees as Republicans’ political strategy:

[DeSantis and Abbott] claimed “liberty and individual liberty at all costs” … when they run for president of the GOP, come out and say: “I have always been for personal freedom and I have never given up on that – I didn ‘never took my foot off the pedal.’ Sadly, in both of their states, COVID cases have just exploded and I think they’ve gotten into a corner that they can’t get out of.

DeSantis, in particular, has gone to war with any school or local official who has attempted to impose masking or vaccines in any way. It has banned local mask warrants, and just recently its handpicked education council said it would punish two Florida counties that implemented universal masking at school by tying up teachers’ salaries. .

Moulitsas has called the absurdity of punishing schools for trying to keep their students safe and doesn’t think this is popular with Americans in general. “I feel like I’ve seen public opinion become more and more agitated and entrenched against anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers,” Eleveld agreed.

She followed up with a notable statistic from a recent poll of a Ipsos / USA Today Poll on these issues, which found that 70% agree that individuals have the right to choose not to be vaccinated, but they do not have the right to be near those vaccinated. “Those 70% are basically saying, of course, if you don’t want to vaccinate, of course you do. But guess what? You cannot be around me and other people who have acted responsibly, not only to help our health, but also to help the health of the community as we try to come back to life, ”she added. .

Moulitsas thinks it’s time to start enacting stricter vaccination rules:

[We need to] start to make it hard not to get vaccinated, make it uncomfortable… if you go to my supermarket, my airports, museums, etc. anywhere I need to be because I need to interact with society. I don’t think that’s a big demand, especially for the kind of crowd that insists they aren’t going to get the shot because they don’t know what’s in the shot, but they’re gonna stuff themselves with horse dewormer and Clorox — they’ve got no problem with that. But they are so ideologically opposed to the vaccine, yet they are still clearly afraid of the virus itself. It kills people, it kills their communities. It’s galloping. So now they are looking for the alternative which is not the vaccine, because that would admit that they were wrong all the time? Is that what we got to?

“I will never understand why [wearing masks] has become such a cultural flashpoint, ”he added.

“What’s amazing is how desperate a loud, vocal, vocal fringe of the GOP base is to get people to lie to them,” Eleveld said, recalling a recent Trump rally where the former president mentioned that the vaccines worked. “He didn’t even fully approve the vaccine; he just said, “I got the shot,” and they all booed each other. They don’t want to hear that vaccines work, not even from Donald Trump! … This segment, and this is a fairly large segment of the Republican Party, desperately wants to be lied to.

Moulitsas and Eleveld expressed frustration and concern that children under 12 in schools have now become pawns in this political game. Since they do not have the choice of being vaccinated, the only protection they have is universal masking. “[Mandatory masking] is their last line of defense, ”ranted Eleveld. “And that’s what these depraved GOP governors want to take away from them.”

Castro joined the show at this point to offer his take on the COVID situation in Texas and how he believes Democrats can continue to expand their connection with communities of color in the state.

As the COVID crisis only worsens across Texas, Castro believes the horrific response to the pandemic has accelerated a Republican Party exodus that had already started over the past decade, noting that “there is a lot of people leaving the Republican Party in Texas. They were already leaving – Trump only won the state by 5.5 points. I say “only” because Obama lost the state by 16 points in 2012, so these guys fully display their failures.

Biden also provided the kind of leadership during the COVID crisis the country so badly needed during the Trump years, and while 2022 is likely a tough election cycle for Democrats, Castro believes there is hope:

You would think that if there was a cycle where Americans could reverse this trend, that would be where we saw the COVID calamity under Donald Trump, and how Joe Biden came in and cleaned up this mess – and provided more of skill, more results, gunshots, people returning to work. The kind of government where, even though people don’t necessarily like government, they recognize that it takes a government that knows what it’s doing, that is efficient, that is competent, and that can walk and chew gum. -gum at the same time. Biden is delivering it, so maybe we can turn that trend around in 2022, here in Texas and nationally as well.

The trend is clear, admitted Moulitsas. He asked, “What do we need to do to shut down that last five percent, and do you see anything in the census data that might indicate what that might look like?” “

Castro replied:

Texas is growing like crazy… the most fascinating statistic in the articles was that for the new growth it was about 95% people of color. It was one thing. Second, for people under the age of 18 – so basically children, Latinxes – already make up 48.5% of that group. And the African American community, the Asian American community is also growing. The two native Texans… but also a lot of people from other states who expect a more robust, more efficient, more honest, less corrupt government – all of that, I think, is changing the world. State.

Demographics, as people have pointed out, are not necessarily fate. However, there is a very clear trend, and what Democrats need to bridge that gap is organize, organize, organize. Don’t give up on anyone, but also bring in people who haven’t always been in the fold. Don’t take communities of color for granted just because they voted Democrat… but I’m confident we can do it here.

The rapidly changing demographics of Texas, as we saw through the 2020 census, are in part due to the political priorities put forward by Republican leaders who increasingly seek to raise more money from the companies, especially in the tech industry.

Under Greg Abbott, the state threw billions and billions of dollars at tech companies and other corporations that relocated their US or world headquarters to Texas. “They’re not bringing in Idaho, they’re bringing in the Bay Area,” Markos joked.

This complicates the political strategy of the Texas GOP, Castro explained:

This brings in a lot of people who are not from Texas. And that brings a lot of people with different policies to where the state is. And so, in that sense, you’re right that they are the victims of what you would call their success in getting these companies with low taxes and low regulation, and so on. Alright, they’re coming. And what they do is vote with people like Colin Allred and Lizzy Fletcher in the Dallas suburbs and the Houston suburbs.

However, voter suppression efforts could complicate this. “On the redistribution, [Texas Republican leadership is] are going to be as partisan as they can be. They’re going to try to get as far as they can to try to maximize the Republican seat count, even though 95% of that growth in Texas was people of color – 65% Latinos – they’ll try to overturn that. “, noted Castro.

Texas has eluded the reach of Democrats for years, although it appears to be on the line. But Castro remains optimistic about the state’s overthrow, stressing the importance of making Texas an example for other states that could also turn blue in the next election cycles:

We’re really on the verge of when that state tips over – and it’s going to tip over, and you can tell – when it tips over, instead of being in many ways a bad example, think about the power of a good example. the state is actually going to be someday. And that’s what I’m trying to hold onto and keep thinking about, even though we have to deal with all these people trying to push us back.

You can watch the full episode here:

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