Giving Thanks For This Year in Politics

KUT’s Ben Philpott and Texas Tribune’s Jay Root, co-hosts of The Ticket 2016 podcast, recount moments they are thankful for, all from this year in campaign politics.

By Rhonda FanningNovember 26, 2015 9:39 am

Good friends, loving family, amazing food – plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. But as you’re preparing that big meal, let’s enhance the dinner conversation with some political analysis.

Ben Philpott from KUT News and Jay Root of the Texas Tribune, co-hosts of The Ticket 2016 weekly podcast, offer moments they’re thankful for from the 2016 presidential campaign so far.

Jay Root’s first pick came from Texas Senator Ted Cruz about Senator Mitch McConnell: “The majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie.”

“It’s not every day that a junior senator calls out the senate majority leader like that,” Root says, “I’m also a thankful because it let us know early on that Ted Cruz was all-in, there was no hedging, because if he doesn’t win the presidency, he is dead, D-E-D dead in the U.S. Senate.”

Philpott says that with so many presidential candidates, there’s something for just about everyone in the race.

“If you’re with the Tea Party, you’re very thankful for anti-establishment candidates like Cruz or Donald Trump,” Philpott says. “If you’re a Hispanic Republican, which is a group that’s really growing here in Texas, you’re thankful for Jeb Bush’s efforts to strike a moderate tone on immigration.”

Philpott says that for Democrats, the #BlackLivesMatter movement is being taken more seriously by candidates, including Senator Bernie Sanders, who has the rapper Killer Mike‘s endorsement.

“Make sure that wherever you go, you take the name, the ideas, the philosophy, and the ideology of Bernie Sanders there,” Killer Mike said before introducing Sanders at an Atlanta-area rally, “and you make sure when you leave, they are on fire because they have felt the Bern.”

In the coming weeks, more debates mean more opportunities to hear from the narrowing field of Republican candidates.

“I’m looking for Ben Carson to say something nutty, Donald Trump to say something outrageous, no one will notice,” Root says, “And then Ted Cruz will blame it on the media.”

Philpott, for his part, is looking forward to the Iowa caucus, because Cruz has captured a large swath of the evangelical vote, which could move him to second place and within “striking distance” of first place.

Listen to full interview in the audio player above.