Dan Crenshaw's mission of making conservatism 'cool again'
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, wants to help make conservatism "cool" for younger voters who have been flocking to Democrats.I have been a Crenshaw supporter from the time he announced for Congress. He is smart and has some natural political skills. He is able to answer media questions in a way that seems to calm the room rather than inflame it while still making his point. He is also willing to stand up for GOP voters who are constantly under attack by liberals in government and in the media. Other Republicans should take note.
Fresh off his post-election appearance on "Saturday Night Live," Crenshaw thinks he can help translate Republican policies for young voters all around the country.
"Our biggest weakness is messaging, I think ... Getting people excited, making conservatism cool again," Crenshaw told the Washington Examiner in his Capitol Hill office. He said he sees himself as a "communicator above all else."
"I love digging deep into policy, but then thinking a lot more strategically on how to message that to people my age, people who aren't generally voting Republican. Somebody besides our base every once in a while," Crenshaw said. "That's what I think about all the time, and I think that's where I'll find my niche on any issues."
Crenshaw showed an ability to communicate with younger people when he appeared on "SNL" to rebut Pete Davidson, who said a week earlier that Crenshaw looks like a "hitman from a porno movie" because of his eye patch. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who retired as a lieutenant commander, lost his eye in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2012.
News shows can't get enough of him. According to one GOP TV booker, one-third of the cable and network requests the party receives are for Crenshaw.
He has also been a top figure for the party on social media. When asked for his initial impressions of his fellow Lone Star State Republican, Sen. John Cornyn said he's a fan of Crenshaw's Twitter account. "I really like his social media stuff," Cornyn said. "He's pretty creative."
Crenshaw's presence on Twitter has some describing him as the GOP version of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., minus her nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers.
The 34-year-old conservative from Texas sees some parallels with the 29-year-old liberal Democrat from New York. "I think we both inherently understand how to reach people with wildly different views," he said. "She's also much more combative. I try not to be as combative. That's about where the comparison ends. I don't like being compared to her."
He has also become a favorite among top figures in the party. Even before his rise to stardom and election to the House, party figures were grooming him for his current role, including getting him in front of top donors. According to one source, he was the lone congressional candidate invited to then-Speaker Paul Ryan's August donor confab in Jackson Hole, Wyo., along with GOP heavy hitters such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Mitt Romney, R- Utah, Ivanka Trump, and Condoleezza Rice.
"I am big Crenshaw fan. [He has a] very good on head on his shoulders," McCarthy said, adding that Crenshaw, who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and earned a bachelor's degree at Tufts before securing a master's of public administration from Harvard last year, is in the game "for the right reasons."