Why Weren’t Beto And Julián Featured At The DNC?

A UT public affairs dean and self-described convention junkie says she’s frustrated their weren’t more Texans in the mix.

By Jill AmentAugust 20, 2020 10:59 am, , ,

The third night of the Democratic National Convention featured speeches from many prominent women, including newly minted vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris. Many speakers moved beyond inspiration, emphasizing policy agendas Democrats hope will bring them victory in November. But Texans did not play a prominent role.

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto is an assistant dean for civic engagement and a lecturer at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She told Texas Standard that Wednesday’s speakers not only provided representation for women, but also offered substantive ideas and issues that matter to women, including gun violence, child care and education.

“For me, that was very satisfying to see that spotlight on women and women’s issues,” DeFrancesco Soto said. 

In an election year when Texas is seen as being more in play for Democrats than it has been in years past, DeFrancesco Soto said she’s frustrated that Texans like Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro did not have speaking slots, despite their presidential runs and Castro’s position as a prominent Latino politician. Some Texans did participate, including freshman Congressman Colin Allred and Texas House member Victoria Neave. 

“I’m not seeing the presence that one would think would be there in a state that’s moving toward that battleground-ish territory,” she said.

DeFrancesco Soto said the virtual format of the convention made it less powerful than an in-person event. But it did have one positive effect: “You’re reaching a lot more people,” she said, referring to the event being livestreamed and broadcast to Americans’ devices and televisions.

But overall, she said national conventions don’t usually “move the needle,” in an election. Instead, hard work by candidates to inform and turn out voters is what helps them win. 

Web story by Shelly Brisbin.

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