WASHINGTON – Suburban women, soccer moms – whatever you call them – Friday night’s Senate debate suggested they are key to the Texas election and cannot be cataloged.
Three-term GOP holder John Cornyn and Democrat MJ Hegar each made some pretty compelling arguments to this bloc. He was planning reasonable and conservative. She projected hard but caring and as a bonus, relatable – “I’m doing virtual kindergarten right now with my six year old!”
They are both good enough at avoiding knee-jerk ideological responses, such as whether they would support a national mask mandate during the pandemic.
“Texas is a very diverse place. Obviously, in West Texas, people know how to distance themselves socially. They do it every day because of the lack of population density. … We do not need the government to fill the void that we ourselves should be filling by acting responsibly at the local level, ”said Cornyn.
Hegar put it another way, just as appealing to a mother who wants to keep her children safe without fear of committing a crime if she walks to the mailbox naked.
“I would be for a national strategy that takes into account science and objective measurements,” she said.
Studied or sincere, the targeting was barely concealed even as each struggled to pierce the facade of sympathy for the other – she portrays him as a right-wing ideologue, he nags her as a Hollywood sweetheart and a sidekick in Hollywood. Elizabeth Warren.
“We won’t even recognize our country if they were to win,” said Cornyn, who took the first shot insisting that Hegar lacks “respect” – for energy jobs and values and Texas police. “I don’t think we need to make Texas the New York of Chuck Schumer or the California of Nancy Pelosi, which the policies adopted by my opponent would do,” he said.
She had a rebuttal ready.
“It must be frustrating for you, John, not to be able to come forward against Chuck Schumer,” she said, adding later when he took the same path: “I’m MJ Hegar. from the fight of Purple Heart and a working mom with two kids and I’m your opponent I’m the person you come up against, as embarrassing as that may be to you.
His main line of attack: Cornyn spent 18 years in the Senate and yet the state still has millions of uninsured people and a myriad of other issues, including a raging pandemic.
“He just said that they have done all they can, so it is time for him to step down,” she said.
Cornyn has tried in various ways to label her as liberal, even resorting to logical gymnastics in claiming that she “tacitly agreed that the police funding was OK” because she accused Gov. Greg Abbott of violating the local control when he tried to stop the Austin. city council to reduce the police budget.
“I didn’t do anything tacitly… I’m not an unspoken person,” Hegar retorted.
She also aimed at the core of Cornyn’s personality, the seriousness and courtesy with which he is endowed, characteristics that have long appealed to moms of pickup trucks and minivans. His data point: his zeal for a Supreme Court confirmation this month, as he worked so hard to block an Obama candidate nine months before the 2016 election.
“Integrity is important and going back on your word is important,” she pointed out.
It is colorful. Systemic racism does not mean that there is “one racist person twisting their mustache,” she said.
But Hegar also fell into indecision. When asked if she would vote to pack the tribunal with more seats to compensate for the last GOP candidate, she replied that she could “if people argue to me that it is in the best interest of our country. “.
Cornyn did not have such a stumble. His handling of the Black Lives Matter problem showed just how skillful he can be, almost instinctively offering balms where his fellow Republicans would ignite.
He wasn’t sure he had met with BLM leaders, he said, but “I remember an African-American pastor in Houston saying to me, ‘Senator, I respect the police, but my son doesn’t trust the police. This is the problem we need to solve.
The style points to both. Voters will need to pay attention to which view they prefer.