SOTU & TX Election Results (with Rep. Joaquin Castro)
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Julián and Sawyer welcome US Rep. Joaquin Castro to talk about President Biden’s State of the Union address, the results of the Texas primary elections, and Gov. Greg Abbott’s assault on transgender children and their families. They also comment on Biden’s historic nomination of federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court and the uphill battle she may face on Capitol Hill.
Follow Congressman Castro online at @JoaquinCastroTX.
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Julian Castro, Joaquin Castro, Sawyer Hackett
Julian Castro 00:13
Hey there. I’m Julian Castro.
And I’m Sawyer Hackett.
And I’m Joaquin Castro.
And welcome to a special edition of OUR AMERICA. Today we’re joined by and you probably can recognize his voice already, we’re joined by a very familiar face and voice. My brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro, for a special episode breaking down. President Biden’s State of the Union address last night, as well as the election results in the Texas primary that took place on Tuesday night. We’re also going to touch on Governor Abbott’s directive targeting transgender children and the nomination of federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, to the US Supreme Court. But first, Joaquin, you were in the room last night for the State of the Union that President Biden gave, just give us a peek into how it was received there in the room?
I think that speech was received pretty well. And he started off with talking about Ukraine, and why it was imperative that the world come out strong against Russia, the Russian invasion. So what was interesting is it for the first I don’t know, maybe 10 minutes or so, I usually, like Democrats stand up if it’s a Democratic president, Republicans are the ones that stand up if it’s a Republican, everybody was standing up, everybody was clapping, it was all standing ovations. And I forget what the transition was where, you know, they like started to boo or, you know, said something. But that was, I thought that was a strong way to start it. Obviously, it’s on everybody’s mind, because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But he started off really strong that I thought he gave all in all and inspiring speech. I think there’s some things that were said he talked about, which I know we’ll get into later. But all in all, I thought he gave a strong speech, it was still kind of odd, because everybody’s used to sitting on the ground floor, and then you have your guests up in the gallery. But like I was in the gallery, there were a lot of other members of Congress in the gallery, and we were all spaced out. So because of COVID, it was still like a little bit of an odd night. But otherwise, I thought the speech was strong.
Julian Castro 02:16
Yeah, it’s always a little bit weird in that room, you know, you see at the beginning, you know, those congressional members that try and angle for a clip of themselves shaking hands with the President. So they line up right against the, you know, basically the path, the alley that he goes down the walkway.
Well, it’s usually the same group of people. It’s usually like, year after year, the same group of people that get there 10 hours early, and wait to speak up.
Like literally, they wait there during the day?
They wait there for a few hours, and then they put something there. But after a while, like I think people just respect, all right. Well, you know, you’ve been waiting a few hours, you left your marker there. And then after a few years of doing that, I think people just assume that’s your seat. They leave you or they leave these people alone.
And it seemed like they were, you know, sending some strong signals both, you know, the President and the Vice President and the Speaker not, you know, not wearing masks, shaking hands with folks in the aisle. A lot of folks donning these, you know, blue and yellow ribbons and flags for Ukraine. It seems like there’s a lot of symbolism in the room last night. Did it seem that way to you?
Yeah, no, you’re right. I mean, a lot of showing of support for Ukraine. And I had not been on the House floor without a mask in over I guess it’s been over a year. It’s been quite a while. And so that was obviously another kind of interesting and odd thing about the night is that it’s you finally people are back on the floor without masks.
So you mentioned, you know, obviously Ukraine is sort of how we started that speech, I at least thought that it started out very strong. He said that Putin had badly miscalculated, and, quote, would pay a price for invading Ukraine. I particularly enjoyed the part where he talked about seizing the assets of Russian oligarchs. He said, we’re joining with our EU allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets, were coming for your ill-gotten gains. That was a huge applause line in the room. It seemed like it was a great way to start the speech, both because it was unifying across the aisle, but also just it’s the biggest issue of the time, and people were really focused on that. What did you make of the Ukraine section of the speech last night?
Joaquin Castro 04:34
You know, I thought that basically, the last few weeks in particular have demonstrated or let’s just say the last month, have demonstrated Joe Biden’s ability to marshal the strength of our allies and unify our allies against a common cause, which in this case, was a Russian invasion of Ukraine. And I think that the Republicans are kind of taken aback by that. They don’t quite know what to make of it first. few reasons. First, their own leader Donald Trump had been praising Vladimir Putin, even up to the day the invasion, I think was saying good things about Vladimir Putin. Yet most of the Republicans the rank-and-file Republicans are still against Putin and against Russia, but they don’t want to say anything bad about Donald Trump. So it’s weird for them. And I also, I don’t think they expected Joe Biden to do this well, in terms of demonstrating, again, that American can be America can be a leader of nations. And so I think they had no, they had nothing left to do, but to support him and clap and stand up and give a standing ovation at the State of the Union. Because it’s clear, America has led the world in an extraordinarily strong and swift response to Russia’s invasion.
And after he started out with, you know, this unifying approach on Ukraine, he kind of tried to continue, you know, he continued that theme of unity throughout the whole speech, but he tried to continue with these bread-and-butter issues. That traditionally, I bet if we went and looked at watch State of the Union addresses for the last 40 years, you know, at least since Reagan, or before you would hear similar themes, bringing back American manufacturing, investing in jobs, he particularly focused on the Midwest. He talked about things like the cost of prescription drugs, and allowing the government to negotiate drug prices. What did you make of that next section of his speech? Which really was kind of, I mean, I would describe it as relatively safe territory, right, middle of the road territory.
Joaquin Castro 06:36
Yeah, I mean, I think you’re right. I mean, look, to some extent, these speeches tend to be kind of the greatest hits of different issues, right, year after year with some variation. But the fact that these things are strongly supported, really across the aisle, many of them like this prescription drug issue and letting the government bargain for better prices, for example. I mean, it just shows you the strength, at least on the issues, if you take the partisan politics out of it, on the issues, the strength of the Democratic agenda, and Joe Biden’s agenda, and he got even some claps on some of those issues from Republicans, which a lot of times you just don’t see.
I feel like I heard a more resolute Biden in embracing economic populism with his remarks. I mean, I think not only on Ukraine, talking about going after oligarchs and that sort of stuff. But also, you know, he called for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve called for confirming its fed nominees, he called out price gouging on the issue of inflation, which I thought was really important moment. He said a moment I think that was a big one was lower your costs, not your wages, more cars and semiconductors in America more infrastructure, get goods moving faster and cheaper in America, let’s make it in America. That was when the USA chant started taking place on the floor.
I mean, I think he said something interesting. And it’s kind of consistent with what Elizabeth Warren has been saying over the years. And it’s important, like right now, because of inflation. People are wondering, why are the prices going up on stuff. And of course, the Republicans very quickly blame Joe Biden and democratic spending and so forth. But the fact is, you have companies, some companies that are using the supply chain issue, as an excuse just to raise prices higher than they’ve ever raised him. And they’re making record profits. And so I thought he said something really important, he said it before, but on this large stage, which was that capitalism without competition is exploitation, that when you have companies that are so dominant in markets, they basically have the ability both to raise prices and to pay their employees lower wages and keep those wages low. And that that’s not really capitalism, that’s exploitation.
Julian Castro 08:48
Yeah, I mean, they can drive up their profit margins even now, and still really not provide any kind of wage increase to their employees. I guess, you know, we should also talk about toward the end of his speech, he touched on some of these issues that have been near and dear to the hearts of the progressive base of the party. But he did it in a couple, you know, at least one unexpected way. You know, he talked about that it’s time to fund the police. Not defund the police. And look, I mean, I can’t remember any Democratic politician that was actually ever saying, I want people to defund the police. I want local governments to defund the police, but Democrats got tagged with that, you know, yeah. And I guess this was Joe Biden’s attempt to put that argument to sleep by Republicans. At the same time, I’ll say I was disappointed that he didn’t address the other part of that. He mentioned training, but he didn’t really address. Okay, well, what about police accountability, and the entire reason that we were having this conversation after the murder of George Floyd, and all of those components that were in the George Floyd, justice in policing, I don’t think he named that piece of legislation, which was, you know, a failure so far not to get it passed after all of the momentum, the marches in the streets in 2020, the push to get some sort of accountability. And so definitely understood the politics, at least of him trying to make it clear that, you know, Democrats are not defunding the police, I would say, having served as a city councilman and Mayor, police departments have been receiving more and more funding and more and more officers for a long time, not only in the 1990s. But throughout then, I know, because I saw that when I was mayor.
Joaquin Castro 10:36
Yeah, I mean, their budgets generally keep climbing, right? They don’t scale back with a few exceptions.
Yeah, they the issue has not been funding. But my point is, okay, look, you want to talk about funding, we get that. But hey, let’s also talk about these real problems of accountability and transparency and the reforms that need to be made. It was a disappointment to me that he didn’t address that at all. No, I think you’re right. I mean, I mentioned earlier, some of the things that I wish that you talked about, and that’s definitely one of them, basically, racial justice, but also policing reform, the George Floyd legislation that the House passed, that is going nowhere in the Senate, again, another victim of the filibuster. So that was one big thing. He didn’t talk much about voting rights, as I recall. And there’s been a big fight on that. And Texas had its primary on the same night that the State of the Union was going on. So those were definitely two things that I noticed that I know a lot of other people noticed as well.
Yeah, I mean, I don’t think it’s really being covered this way. But he was kind of sticking it to the left on a lot of different points last night. I mean, he pivoted towards bipartisanship, talking about infrastructure, talking about working together, a lot of soaring rhetoric about working across the aisle. But on the left, he kind of stuck it to two progressives on the issue of policing, on the issue of immigration, he used the phrase secure our borders as if they’re not already secure. He used the phrase fund our police as if they’re not already funded. He didn’t mention the January 6th insurrection, even though he’s standing in that hall that was occupied by you know, violent insurrectionists. There was zero mention of Build Back Better. He mentioned some of the provisions within Build Back Better.
Julian Castro 12:14
I guess they’re not calling it that now. Right? He talked about all the components except didn’t name it Build Back Better.
Well, because you’ve got to think for him right? To me when I when he said, You’re right. Like he said, we have to secure our border. And then he said, we have to fund not defund. You got to be careful there. Because I see that as a politically defensive move, like, hey, we’re trying to dispel this idea that we’re defunding police. And we’re trying to dispel this idea that we’re just allowing for open borders. But at the same time, sometimes in describing those things, you’re affirming the point that the other side is trying to make, right? So it’s a very tricky balance on bringing those things up in that particular way.
Well, and also there was a little bit of a, you know, sleight of hand on immigration, other than adopting that right wing talking points of securing the border. I mean, politicians have been doing that forever, right. So that’s not a huge surprise. That’s a common narrative. Well, especially in places like Texas, in the southwest. But the sleight of hand was when he went into immigration reform. You notice what he did was that he actually spelled out individuals and groups that he meant path to citizenship, he said, for dreamers, for farmworkers, for essential workers. I mean, I know you and I think Senator, Padilla, have sponsored this, you know, bill, I know you’re happy about that. But remember that we used to talk about a pathway to citizenship for a much broader group of people than farmworkers, essential workers and dreamers. You know, I absolutely agree, of course, that we should get them on a pathway to citizenship, but go back 10 years 15, like we’re talking about a lot more people than that, we were talking about 10 to 11 million undocumented immigrants, as long as they hadn’t committed a felony and so forth. The sleight of hand was that, you know, at least what he highlighted was reducing that to only the most politically, I think, palatable, if you want to say, acceptable groups of people, especially after this pandemic. And also I think, like, after years of trying big bills, comprehensive legislation, what happens then is that you switch over and you start to take what are the most, I guess, groups that people most favorable to more that in politics are most easily scalable, right? And you say, Okay, well, we’re going to offer a path to citizenship for these three or four groups of people that you guys are okay with. But look, at the end of the day, even that has not gone anywhere. We pass a few of these things in the house. Some of them we haven’t, even those, even the ones you mentioned. And in the Senate, it’s gone nowhere.
Sawyer Hackett 14:55
Yeah, I shared on Twitter that I thought that this speech was crafted to essentially remind a lot of those disaffected independent voters, why they voted for Joe Biden in the first place. He talked a lot. We mentioned economic populism. He talked a lot about these big popular issues where we all sort of have unity. At the same time, I think he didn’t do a lot to re inspire the coalition of Democrats that sent them there in the first place, the Black and Brown voters, the young voters who didn’t want to hear things about funding, the police didn’t want to hear things about securing the border. They didn’t hear anything about, you know, the signature progressive legislation build back better didn’t hear anything about January 6, they didn’t hear anything about canceling student loan debt, for example. That was
That was another big one, I think, a big one that he should have talked about.
Yeah, I mean, I think that this, this speech was crafted essentially to, to remind people that there’s competence in the White House, that there’s somebody who’s, you know, maybe on your side is focusing on the issues that you care about, but didn’t really hit back on Republicans on issues like voting rights, that you know, that we’ve been stuck in, that we’ve been mired in for so long, and that we’re dealing with you guys are dealing with in Texas every single day. It’s just sort of frustrating sometimes that that he doesn’t see that as a coalition that needs inspiring that needs tending to, especially ahead of the midterms when we desperately need our base to turnout. But I will say, you know, CBS did a poll, you know, a quick flash poll, following the speech and 78% of viewers had a favorable view of the speech at the end of the night.
Julian Castro 16:24
He got high marks. And I think his forte, really, and especially with everything that’s going on overseas right now, is as that steady hand and somebody you know, in charge, who has the experience to lead in difficult times, and somebody who, you know, understands the problems that you and your family face and wants to solve them. And he definitely played up to that the question will be okay, as you say, Sawyer, in a midterm year, where you also need to amp up the, you know, the base of your party. And we’ve had a failure so far on voting rights, on police reform, on immigration reform and so forth. Minimum wage, you know, canceling student loan debt in any real big way. You know, is any of that enough to get you over the hump in 22′.
But I think that, you know, I noticed I could be wrong. This is just like, anecdotal, it’s just my sense. But y’all know that in the midterms? Usually, the President’s party gets popped in the midterms, with a few historical exceptions, right? And then every time it happens, every time it’s gonna happen, we act like it’s a new thing. And wow, how did this happen? And is this party or that party dead for good now, because they’re going to lose big, and then they come back two years or four years later, and then they beat the other side by big margin, right? And so, yeah, so to some extent, it seems cyclical, and the challenge is breaking out of that cycle. But I think because of that, because the party, in this case, the Democratic Party, in this case, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, looks at those midterms, looks at the polling, and then decides what he’s going to speak about at the State of the Union, his tendency is going to be to try to go to that middle and get whatever he can from the people who are independents, for example, or folks he thinks are gettable. And then when you get into the presidential cycle, well, first of all, oftentimes, you have a presidential primary, which will draw people out to try to attract the primary base. But even if you don’t, even if it’s the reelection of a sitting president, the president knows, hey, okay, both sides are going to come out in force, I really have to go excite my folks to come out. And so I guess what I’m saying is, the long and short of it is, I think, in midterms, because the polling can tend to get bad, you know, you start to kind of put aside, there’s a tendency to put aside or not talk about some of your policies that appealed to the base, whereas the presidential year, either because you’re in a primary or because you know, you’re going to need to get your site out, there’s a tendency to start to play to those in a way that we just don’t see in the midterms often.
mean, D Joe Biden is not on the ballot in 2022. But of course, like you said, this is always going to be a referendum on the last president, we elected these midterm races, and they see, you know, approval ratings in the very low 40s. They see a need to shore up support for Joe Biden for bringing those independents back into the fold, into the party. I worry, though, that because he’s not on the ballot by just emit constantly, this constant emphasis on bipartisanship, on the achievements that have been bipartisan, but also the things that we want to do, you know, working across the aisle by not mentioning things like January 6, by not mentioning the attack on voting rights by not mentioning their embrace of Putin right now. I mean, I worry that down ballot he does us a disservice by speaking by putting them up on the platform by not hitting back its gonna hurt some of these candidates down ballot who you know, they’re not voting against Joe Biden and Donald Trump. They’re voting against whichever candidates on the ballot. And I don’t really think that that helps those candidates in those tough races.
Joaquin Castro 20:09
No, I mean, look, I’m not talking about student loans, for example, about police reform, criminal justice reform, voting rights, which has been a huge fight. And also, you know, I wondered last night, what would that speech would look like if there hadn’t been a Russian invasion of Ukraine within the last week and a half? What would that speech look like? I think that because my sense just in the country, I do think that, that that has rallied Americans, for the most part, right? There’s probably still 20% or 22% of Americans that side with Russia, I don’t know. But it’s kind of I think, had the effect of having people put their swords down a little bit. Like the blood pressure in the country is dropped a little bit, because people feel like they’re, you know, on a on a common mission. And I think it’s in that vein, that he probably planned that speech. And the speech writers wrote that speech to not try to be too, quote, unquote, divisive in this moment. And also Sawyer, because you’re right, because people, the President’s usually use this speech to try to pump up their own numbers and their own popularity and favorability. And the way that you do that usually is by talking about things that people can agree on, rather than things that they can’t. But look, there’s no question. I think when your base doesn’t hear you talking about certain issues that are extremely important to them in their daily lives. People are buried under student debt, although they’re still frozen. Right. But ordinarily, they’re buried under student debt. And so it’s a big issue for him. Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a political effect to that.
The State of the Union every year is, of course, a huge political moment. And in this midterm year, was one of the especially important moments and obviously, we’ll have to watch how all of this plays out in the months to come. After the break, we’re going to talk about an election that already happened on Tuesday night, as Texas held its Democratic and Republican primaries, stick around.
Julian Castro 22:40
Welcome back to OUR AMERICA. Did you know that Texas has the earliest primary in the nation, it happened on Tuesday night on March 1, that’s like two months. Most of the Republican candidates will just get that out of the way. You know, Abbott, even though he didn’t get, you know, super high numbers, pretty easily got through his primary Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. Most of the other Republicans except Attorney General Ken Paxton, who’s going to be in a runoff with George P. Bush. The runoff will happen on May 24. There was a lot of excitement on the Democratic side, because in the 28th congressional district, where Jessica Cisneros, who’s running for the second time, took on nine term incumbent Henry Cuellar. Basically, they’re neck and neck right in the high 40s. There was a third candidate that is taking like 4% of the vote because of that it looks like as of right now, because you know, they’re still getting numbers in ballots in, that it’s going to go into a runoff as well. That’s going to be a super close race. She was within four points last time this is she’s progressive, unabashedly progressive, been endorsed by AOC, Elizabeth Warren, by Bernie Sanders. You know, this is that battle between, you know, progressive Democrats and conservative Democrats. I don’t know how much you want to draw from one race. But you know, this was definitely the race of the night on the Democratic side.
Well, before we talk about some of those races, I haven’t I told you so for you because when Allen West and Don Huffines filed against Greg Abbott, you thought that they might do the run-off. I said, I don’t think so. I don’t think that these guys are going to do anything and they didn’t do anything.
He just turned out to be like dead wood. I mean, not only that, like what is Don Huffines excuse? He actually had money. I mean, he had billboards all over the place, with like, phrases on them that were deport illegals and, you know, a real Republican.
Even there’s like, I guess conversation or whispers among Republicans. Have you talked to him in Texas, that they don’t really care for Greg Abbott and they’re not excited about it and blah, blah, blah. But I kept wondering, well, what is he done? Then has been trade their right-wing base so badly that they would try to kick this guy out. In Texas. The main animating issue is in the Republican primary is scaring people about the border. Abbott is dedicated years to scaring people about the border. So why would they be mad at him if he’s taking care of them on their number one issue?
Well, I think, I was just gonna say that. Yeah, I mean, look at what he’s been doing just over the past year from, you know, pushing SBA essentially outlawing abortion in the state from Operation Lonestar, which has been a complete disaster, spending billions of dollars on a fake border wall down there, you know, attacking transgender kids attacking the public-school curriculum. He has just used his office to weaponize his office to win that primary and essentially, your right, scare people into you know, coming back to him and assuring them that he’s a conservative, Republican, a Trump Republican, with all of these crazy policies, I think that that’s going to hurt him against Beto in a general, he’s made the hard pivot. And one thing I think we should point out, too, like he only won 68% I think it was 60.
Julian Castro 26:08
I mean, he underperformed like Beto. So his credit actually consolidated a lot of support on the credit side. Remember, I think he only got in the 70s last time, and he lost a lot of Latino support in South Texas. That didn’t happen this time. He did a lot better, you know, primary of 2018 to primary of 2022. Whereas Abbott actually weakened. Yeah, look, I was wrong, Huffines west, you know, they, you know, he beat him pretty easily. But they still did better against Abbott than any of the opponents did against Beto.
When that Paxton run off with George P. Bush is going to be really interesting. I think George P. Bush has a chance of beating him just by making that same argument. Ken Paxton, you’re going to get a Democrat for attorney general. It’s going to be a close race. It’ll be interesting to see what Donald Trump does. He endorsed Ken Paxton, is he going to double down and go to Texas or do rallies with Ken Paxton. It’s gonna really we’re gonna see how committed he is to this guy that is a right wing not Ken Paxton, who’s under indictment in Texas.
So let’s talk about what happened on the Democratic side because I think it was a really exciting night. You have Jessica Cisneros, essentially, you know, necky neck with clay are likely to head to a run off. There’s gonna be a lot of attention on that race. In Texas 35. Greg Casar like beat expectations by a good 10 points.
Yeah, he smoked the field.
And that was a big win for Greg, I talked to Greg last night, late night. How’s he feeling? He’s excited that he doesn’t have a run off. He’s got several months to get ready to come to Washington and all that. But that Cuellar-Cisneros race, people here in Washington, a members of Congress kept asking me, Well, how’s this thing gonna turn out? Like, what’s gonna happen? You know, is Henry gonna pull it out? Or is she gonna win? And I really thought I said, I cannot I don’t know, if I just can’t tell. And I guess my vague intuition was right, because they were like, 46 and 49, or something at the end of the night.
Sawyer Hackett 28:23
Well, so we should point out for folks that in Texas to win your primary, you have to win more than 50% of the total vote. And so, you know, that’s why they’re headed to this run off. I think 1x factor in that race is you know; the FBI still hasn’t confirmed whether he is the target of that investigation. You could get plenty of news between now and the 12 weeks before that runoff election what happens there and that could hurt him pretty badly. But it was kind of a banner night for progressives. Like I said they ran neck and neck Greg Casar one beat that threshold for the runoff. He’s a you know, a big progressive name in the state and upcoming star. Jasmine Crockett also headed to a runoff in Texas 30th. So it was a big night, I think for progressives, and I think this is one thing like had Henry Clay are beaten Jessica Cisneros had you know, great guests are not met that threshold of 50% they would be talking about that this is the death of progressives in Texas. This was a great night for progressives in Texas, and we’re not going to get that coverage. But we at least should talk about it as a podcast, the three of us.
Yeah, I mean, you got this new generation of leadership that you know, Greg’s already in. I think Jasmine Crockett is has a commanding lead going into the runoff. And Jessica Cisneros is neck with Cuellar and it’s anybody’s ballgame for the runoff on May 24. You know, to me, it really is indicative of a generational change, and also an opportunity in Texas. You know, to get people involved in politics and excited about politics with these candidates that haven’t necessarily been excited and involved. The last couple of decades.
Joaquin Castro 30:02
No, it is incredible to see like a new crop of faces of young candidates come up in Texas. And really, I think believing I believe that during the course of their political service, public service, that the state of Texas is going to flip from Republican to Democrat over the next several years. And so these will be among the folks who are elected to statewide office, and the leaders of the Democratic Party, and therefore, I think, the state of Texas in the coming years.
And we should mention, this was the first election that Texas has held since the passage of the Republican voter suppression law SB1, there was a number of a huge number of issues with the mail in ballot application process with having to have matching numbers on the voter file with your mail in ballot application. Yeah, that’s crazy. Harris County rejected some 30% of applications. There was also a lot of scuff UPS about this provision in the law that says elected officials can’t proactively send mail in ballot applications to their constituents using their official office. A number of Republican candidates did that via their campaign side of things. So obviously, that’s completely disingenuous. But also, you know, it should be pointed out that Texas has the earliest primary in the nation by design, I mean, turnout in these races is abysmal. It’s it ends up being around 10% of the total register population. It’s just one more. You pointed this out yesterday, to me, it’s just one more sinister attempt by Republicans to juice the system to keep turnout.
They try not to give anybody a long runway to pick up steam.
Well, look what happened when they did work, remember in 2012, and they had to push it back because the redistricting and […] thought all had it wrapped up and crews came up, he had two months extra time. And he beat him, he kicked his ass. You know, and up ended, Texas Republican politics at that time.
Sawyer Hackett 32:01
Before we go to the break, we also just wanted to touch on the latest coming out of that statewide governor’s race with Greg Abbott, you know, right before the primary, the Attorney General’s Office and the governor’s office announced that they were issuing this guidance about transgender kids where they’re going to conduct these sorts of investigations about whether trans children going through gender affirming care are abused by their parents that it would be designated as child abuse. They had done the first investigation of one of those parents, you know, they’re there. They’re talking about potentially prosecuting them. This is all obviously just playing Republican primary politics. But now, you know, this is the primaries over and Greg Abbott has to stick with that policy. And this is it’s disgusting. It’s horrible. It also came right after news of the ex ERCOT, which ERCOT is the power grid for Texas. The ex-ERCOT chief testified under oath that Greg Abbott had directed officials to charge the maximum amount of money for kilowatt of power during the power crisis last year, a huge bombshell story that kind of blew up in the state. But that came right before right as the attack on transgender children was happening. What did you make of that?
Well, first, I think there should be a Justice Department investigation of that testimony that Greg Abbott told ERCOT to keep the prices as high as possible. I don’t see how the Justice Department doesn’t at least take a look at that. A governor instructing a state agency to keep energy prices as high as possible while people are freezing to death. And then your right, it’s disgusting. What one man’s ego and his drive to win a Republican primary has caused in Texas, with him going after transgender children. You know, when I saw that, you know, a few years ago, we a lot of is called what happened with the intentional separation of families at the border, state sponsored child abuse. Right. And I think that’s what this is to a state sponsored child. You’re abusing those kids, abusing them, because you want to win a political race. This wasn’t an issue that millions of Texans were just beating down the governor’s door, protesting in front of the governor’s mansion because they wanted the governor take this up as an issue. Not even the people on the right. Not even conservative Republicans. Were all this being our number one issue. You got to do something about this. And yet to try to win this race and make sure he pulls it out. He goes and does this and probably because he’s thinking he wants to run for president in a few years. It’s disgusting, and it’s child abuse.
Julian Castro 34:44
Joaquin, thanks for giving us your insight into the State of the Union and also of course, Texas politics. You also were nominated in your congressional district to get I think you had no opponent. I got 100% You’ll be happy to know that I actually voted for you. I didn’t undervote, didn’t skip it. We’ll catch up to you soon.
Good to be with you guys.
And after the break, we’re going to talk about President Biden’s nomination of federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court. some really exciting news on that. So we’ll, we’ll see after the break.
A few days ago, President Biden made his first nomination to the United States Supreme Court, a groundbreaking trailblazing nomination of the first Black woman who would serve on the court, who he nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is currently a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, having been nominated last year by Biden for that circuit court. And now she faces what I think is going to be pretty smooth sailing all things considered in the modern age. This is somebody who is eminently qualified, has all of the standard qualifications on her resume of having gone to Ivy League schools. He actually clerked for justice Breyer, and also was a Federal Public Defender. That’s something you don’t see very often on the resume of Supreme Court justices. Biden is living up to his promise to appoint the first Black woman justice to serve on the court. And also, he said that he wanted a diversity of experience. And I think that his picks have generally reflected that on these district level circuit level appeals level, and now Supreme Court level nominations, because she has that experience of being a public defender, you have so many folks who have served as prosecutors. But you know, that experience, I think, will add to the core.
Yeah, I mean, I think this was a was a homerun pick for all the reasons you mentioned. I mean, she was just confirmed by the Senate recently, including with I think three Republican senators voting to confirm. So you know, those senators should they not vote to confirm her would be extremely hypocritical. But it’s also a, I think, a win for progressives, who were pushing for Ketanji Brown Jackson. And so you know, it’s gonna bring some energy back to the base of the party that really cares about these nominations, especially after, you know, Trump was able to secure three different Supreme Court justices during his term. So I think it’s a win for progressives, it looks like she’s going to be confirmed on a bipartisan basis. And, you know, I think some of the more craven members of the Senate Republican members won’t give up the chance to attack her for these identity, you know, for identity issues that you heard early on, when she was mentioned as a potential nominee that, you know, going after Biden for saying that he was going to pick a Black woman, that doesn’t play well with most Americans. And I think you’re gonna see a confirmation process that looks clean, that looks orderly, that looks bipartisan, while also hearing, you know, from some of the worst members of the Senate, who are who are going to play their games and I think expose Republicans for their just, you know, lack of historic perspective on what this nomination means.
Julian Castro 38:35
Yeah. What else is new? Right? All right, say Well, thanks for listening to this special edition of OUR AMERICA. We’re both here in DC. I’m actually here in your apartment. Leave us a voicemail sharing the stories you care about most right now at 833-453-6662. That’s 833-453-6662. And don’t forget to subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts.
We’ll see you next week.
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