For this week’s podcast, the Signal spoke with State Rep. Rafael Anchia about the Democratic presidential primaries and why he believes Biden will help turn Texas blue more than Sanders.
Anchia, who endorsed Biden last month, said the former vice president would be the perfect foil to Donald Trump, and could even be competitive in Texas by winning over moderates and independent voters.
He said the progress made in Texas by Democrats could be negatively impacted by Sanders at the top of the ticket.
“My concern about Senator Sanders is that as many people as he’s going to bring in– and I do believe the thesis that new voters are coming into the process– he may expel or discourage that many more people from either participating, either voting Democratic or maybe even pushing people to Donald Trump.”
The gains made by Democrats in 2018 in mainly suburban areas, Anchia said, were largely powered by independents, not new voters.
“The degree to which Senator Sanders would need to bring in new voters into the process would have to be something that we have never seen in Texas electoral history,” Anchia said, adding that the 2016 Democratic primary so far is generating fewer vote shares than the 2008 primary.
While most eyes are focused on the presidential race, Anchia also spoke to the importance of capturing the statehouse in 2020. Democrats are only nine seats away from holding a majority in the Texas House.
“The Texas Legislature is the governing body for the 10th largest economy in the world,” Anchia said. “Ahead of Russia, ahead of South Korea, ahead of Mexico. Texas is an economic juggernaut.”
“For the House in the legislature of the 10th largest economy in the world to be controlled by Democrats means all the difference in the world,” he continued. “It means we don’t get bathroom bills. It means we don’t get anti-immigrant legislation. It means we do something to fix the healthcare problem that has us ranked last out of fifty states in the number of people who are uninsured.”
You can listen to the full interview here.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org