The Last Black Republican in the House Waves the White Flag

Representative Will Hurd.

Representative Will Hurd.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

When Representative Will Hurd took office in 2015, Donald Trump’s campaign announcement was still six months away. Polling that April would find Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush with early leads among GOP primary voters, signaling what appeared to be an acceptance of the inevitable: That to win a national election post-Obama, the party needed candidates who could connect to a more racially diverse electorate. Latino voters were central to this mandate. The conventional wisdom — articulated in a 2013 postmortem of Mitt Romney’s failed campaign the previous year — held that Republicans had become the party of white people and needed more sincere outreach to Asians and Latinos to gain a foothold in the America of tomorrow. Hurd is black, but won a tight race in a majority-Latino congressional district, Texas’s 23rd. If he wasn’t the future, he was emblematic of what some Republican strategists hoped it might be.

Four years later, Trump is president, while Republican officials have embraced his platform of naked white nationalism and are imprisoning Central American migrant children en masse. Meanwhile, some of the party’s supporters march in pro-Confederate rallies and hurl nativist slurs at black, Puerto Rican, and Palestinian-American congresswomen. And Hurd is leaving. On Thursday evening, the congressman announced on Twitter that he won’t seek reelection next year so he can “pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress” at the “nexus between technology and national security.” “I want to use my knowledge and experience to focus on these generational challenges in new ways,” Hurd, a former CIA officer, wrote. “It was never my intention to stay in Congress forever, but I will stay involved in politics to grow a Republican Party that looks like America.”

Such a party seems increasingly far off these days, and Hurd’s departure bodes poorly for it. When he leaves, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will be the party’s only black member of Congress; the party has no black governors. At times, Hurd has been an uncomfortable fit. While his party compatriots have aligned themselves almost entirely behind Trump and his agenda — both in their voting records and their public support for him — Hurd has often eschewed the latter, joining the Democrats in condemning Trump’s executive orders to build a border wall and ban immigrants entering the U.S. from majority-Muslim countries, and joining three other House Republicans in a vote condemning Trump’s racist tweets this month. The congressman’s desire to build a more reflective GOP is rooted in his conviction that even people in nonwhite communities believe in “Republican ideals” at their core: That “we should empower people not the government, help families move up the economic ladder through free markets not socialism, and achieve and maintain peace by being nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys.”

Yet in practice, these ideals have been mostly conditional for the GOP. Republicans have gladly embraced big government when it’s affirmed their ability to maintain expensive prison systems and protect the rights of law-enforcement officials to detain and kill people with impunity. Trump’s diplomacy is practically a tutorial on how to be nice with tough guys when he should be tough, as his chumminess with autocrats like Vladimir Putin, Mohammad bin Salman, and Kim Jong-un demonstrate. The party’s embrace of its most virulently white-supremacist elements seems intent on alienating even those black, Latino, and Asian voters who might otherwise agree with its positions. This rankles Hurd, but hasn’t stopped him from voting with Trump’s agenda at a career rate of 81 percent, including in efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act, oppose the establishment of humanitarian standards for the care of migrants detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, and continuing to arm Saudi-backed forces in Yemen.

In this light, Hurd’s departure has the aura of a surrender to the forces of Trumpism. He’s had a more difficult time than most in his party reconciling his support for many of the president’s positions — which, despite the crudeness of their vessel, are mostly standard GOP fare — with the flagrant bigotry of their presentation. This puts him at odds with even the emerging guard of black Republicanism, a group consisting most prominently of YouTube zealots like Candace Owens and minstrel-esque comedians like Diamond and Silk. Salvaging the good name of nonwhite Republicans has become a futile pursuit from inside the political establishment, Hurd seems to have concluded. It’s hard to disagree. But the signs were there all along.

The GOP has had options over the past five decades and consistently chosen the path of bigotry — from the Southern Strategy, to Reagan’s war on school integration and affirmative action, to the Bush-era embrace of Islamophobia as a national-security principle, to Trump’s fusion of all the above. Those sincerely hoping to carve out a “Republican Party that looks like America,” it turns out, were pursuing a goal to which their party had no real commitment, just a grudging acceptance of what they thought was inevitable. But when 2016 revealed that open white supremacism would get the job done more easily and with less course correction, they flocked to embrace it, to the point that it’s almost shocking to recall any GOP resistance to Trump’s early successes at all. Whatever Hurd’s commitment to building a different GOP by embodying it seems to have been sapped by his time in Congress. In a way, it’s a fitting metaphor for the effort overall — a stated desire for change, followed by a surrender to the easy out.

The Last Black Republican in the House Waves the White Flag

Promoted links by Taboola

the national interest

the national interest

Trump: I Skip Vetting Nominees, Pass the Savings on to You

By Jonathan Chait

Trump has some ideas about where to cut costs in government.

vision 2020

Gravel ’20 Is Done

By Ed Kilgore

It was an improbable social-media based effort run by teenagers bristling with hostility to the “American empire,” but they made a mark.

vision 2020

With Some Elbow Room, Amy Klobuchar Could Have a Moment

By Ed Kilgore

The Minnesotan could become the candidate of Bidenism Without Biden, but she needs a lot of breaks.

the national interest

the national interest

Trump Directs Government to Punish Washington Post Owner

By Jonathan Chait

Trump is going after Amazon as retribution for Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post.


Trump abruptly withdraws DNI pick in face of Republican opposition

Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people….

….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.


Trump gets a diplomatic win, of sorts

A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!


daniel pantaleo

Judge Recommends Officer Who Choked Eric Garner Be Fired

By Benjamin Hart

It may be the end of the line for Daniel Pantaleo, more than five years after his lethal actions reverberated across the country.


The Last Black Republican in the House Waves the White Flag

By Zak Cheney-Rice

Five years ago, Republicans thought they had to become more diverse to win. Will Hurd’s departure symbolizes their abandonment of that path.

It’s official

JUST IN: President Trump signs budget deal increasing military spending and the deficit, White House says.



Joe Biden Is the Reason Obama’s Legacy Is on Trial

By Sarah Jones

It’s difficult for other candidates to run against Joe Biden without running against the Obama presidency.


At the Fortnite World Cup With the Game’s Youngest Star Yet

By Brian Feldman

H1ghSky1, a.k.a. 12-year-old Patrick Bragaru, is too young to compete in the tournament, but still has plenty of fans.

Trump to Kim: “Come on buddy, be cool”

Kim Jong Un and North Korea tested 3 short range missiles over the last number of days. These missiles tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement, nor was there discussion of short range missiles when we shook hands. There may be a United Nations violation, but..

…..Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain – the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited. Also, there is far too much to lose. I may be wrong, but I believe that……

….Chariman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true. He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!



More disturbing news on the climate front

July was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded, “on a par with, and possibly marginally higher” than the previous warmest month, which was July 2016, according to provisional data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. This European climate agency will have a full report for all of July on Monday, but a spokesperson said enough data (through July 29) has already come in to make this declaration.

The monthly global average temperature anomaly was 2.16 degrees (1.2 Celsius) above preindustrial levels, the center reported in its preliminary figures Friday.

Absolutely horrifying

A patrol officer accidentally shot and killed a woman when he fired repeatedly at a dog that was charging at him, authorities in the Dallas suburb of Arlington said.

The officer and other emergency workers responded Thursday to a welfare check concerning a woman who appeared to be passed out in a grassy area near a commercial district. The barking dog was unrestrained and ran toward the officer as he was calling the woman. The officer began backing away, then drew his weapon and fired at the dog as it continued to charge.

The woman yelled out after the shots were fired. She was taken to a hospital, where she died. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office identified her as 30-year-old Margarita Victoria Brooks.

Biden still looking good in first round of post-debate polling

Post-debate Morning Consult Dem WH poll (conducted 8/1)

Biden 32%

Sanders 18%

Warren 15%

Harris 10%

Buttigieg 6%

Booker 3%

O’Rourke 3%

Yang 2%


Big news in the Eric Garner case

BREAKING: Sources tell NY1 that an NYPD judge will recommend that Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the police department for his role in Eric Garner’s death five years ago.



This New Ivanka Podcast Is the Juiciest Show of the Summer

By the Cut

Introducing Tabloid, a new podcast from New York and Luminary.

man of the people

man of the people

Peter Thiel Makes a Nakedly Political Play in the New York Times

By Brian Feldman

Thiel rails against the Silicon Valley bubble as if he’s somehow not emblematic of it.

elijah cummings

Trump Seems Thrilled That Someone Broke Into Elijah Cummings’s House

By Benjamin Hart

The president rejoices in the misfortune of a man he’s been attacking for days.

the top line

Trump Can Trade-War His Way to Interest-Rate Cuts — Even Though It’s Stupid

By Josh Barro

It’s simple: When the president does things that hurt the economy, that gives Jerome Powell & Co. more room to cut rates.

the national interest

the national interest

Why Don’t Democrats Attack Trump’s Middle-class Tax Hike?

By Jonathan Chait

Tariffs are taxes.

A steady-as-she-goes jobs report

July BLS #JobsReport is out. Positive report, bump in wage growth is nice though still has room to rise. Overall, roughly in line with expectations.

– Jobs added: 164,000

– Unemp rate: 3.7%

– Labor force participation: 63.0

– Wage growth: 3.2%#JobsReport #JobsDay


Expect Yang and Castro to get there too – and possibly more

NEW: Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign just announced that she has now met the 130,000 donor threshold to complete her qualification for the fall debate on @ABC

That makes 8 total qualified so far:

– Biden

– Booker

– Buttigieg

– Harris


– O’Rourke

– Sanders

– Warren


The INF Treaty is officially dead

The landmark treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces lapses Friday, opening the way for a new generation of land-based missiles and casting a shadow over the future of arms-control agreements.

The fate of the 1987 treaty was sealed in February when the Trump administration served notice that it would withdraw from the accord in six months, following U.S. allegations that a Russian cruise missile breached its terms. A parallel accord that limits U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear arms, dubbed New START, is set to expire in February 2021, and White House national security adviser John Bolton has said it is unlikely to be renewed.

Great news for wealthy, dishonest parents

As college admissions officers gear up for the first application season since learning of a broad cheating scandal, many are looking at how much effort they should put into catching liars—and concluding they aren’t making big changes.

Admissions officers say they look for red flags such as an applicant who submits superb test scores but subpar grades, or an applicant from a wealthy ZIP Code who claims to have grown up with financial challenges. But with a mandate to review applications quickly—some elite schools spend just a few minutes on an application due to the high volume of material—they say they may not notice if four people all say they were MVP of a regional team, or overstate their placement in a debate tournament. Schools also tend not to confirm the race or ethnicity someone claims on paper.

“Our process is as good as the information that we do receive,” says Stefanie Niles, vice president for enrollment and communications at Ohio Wesleyan University and president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “There’s been a lot of trust.”

andrew yang

What Andrew Yang Gets Wrong (and Right) About Robots

By Eric Levitz

Automation isn’t going to take all our jobs. But it could make them less time-consuming, if we let it.

Exactly the kind of guy you want handling the nation’s most sensitive intelligence

President Trump’s choice to lead the nation’s intelligence community often cites a massive roundup of immigrant workers at poultry plants in 2008 as a highlight of his career. Rep. John Ratcliffe claims that as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Texas, he was the leader of the immigration crackdown, describing it as one of the largest cases of its kind.

“As a U.S. Attorney, I arrested over 300 illegal immigrants on a single day,” Rat­cliffe (R-Tex.) says on his congressional website.

But a closer look at the case shows that Ratcliffe’s claims conflict with the court record and the recollections of others who participated in the operation — at a time when he is under fire for embellishing his record … Only 45 workers were charged by prosecutors in Ratcliffe’s office, court documents show. 

A relatively civil night in Cincinnati

President Donald Trump on Thursday briefly renewed his criticism of four minority Democratic congresswomen at his first rally since controversy erupted when a crowd at a rally last month broke into a chant of “Send her back” about a U.S. lawmaker who immigrated to the United States from Somalia.

But he did not name or dwell on them. The crowd as a whole did not chant, and the president – who was being watched for his response if such a unified cry erupted – did not have to show whether he would try to stop his supporters from engaging in a call that critics view as racist.

“While Republicans are working every day to build up our country, the rage-filled Democrat Party is trying to tear America apart. The Democrat Party is now being led by four left-wing extremists who reject everything that we hold dear,” Trump told the crowd in Ohio, making reference to U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar and three colleagues known as “the Squad.”

Trump still had plenty to say about his opponents, and the enthusiastic crowd chanted: “Lock Her Up!” when the president criticized his 2016 Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

vision 2020

Texas Representative Will Hurd Joins GOP House Retirement Wave

By Matt Stieb

The GOP’s only black House member announced his retirement, marking an opening in Texas’s most competitive district and the party’s eighth 2020 exit.


Struggling California Town Wants to Be ‘Sanctuary City’ for Guns

By Ed Kilgore

It’s an effort that combines “sticking it to the liberals” with true economic desperation.

Read More

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: