Congressman Colin Allred discusses Democrats' midterm prospects on "The Takeout"
The impending departure of 30 House Democrats who aren't seeking reelection and congressional redistricting after the 2020 Census have created challenging conditions for Democrats hoping to hold onto their slim majorities in Congress in the midterm elections in November. Republicans are confident they'll retake the House, and they have hopes of flipping the 50-50 Senate their way, too. Nonetheless, Congressman Colin Allred, Democrat of Texas, thinks it's too early for his party to give up.
"I recognize that the national kind of, you know, talking point is that the House is going to be lost and that's why so many people are retiring," Allred, who represents Texas' 32nd Congressional District, told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. "I tend to disagree that that fight is over."
He believes that despite the high turnover among Democrats even before a vote has been cast, the laws that have been passed to give relief to struggling Americans — the American Rescue Plan that sent $1,400 checks to individuals and the bipartisan infrastructure bill — will make a difference when voters hit the polls later this year.
President Biden's low approval ratings, the damage caused by the Omicron variant, and record high inflation are not lost on Allred.
"I know folks are frustrated that we're still in this pandemic, that we are still not back to full in normal life and we have to talk about inflation and what people are dealing with," Allred said. "You know, I was raised by a single mother, was a public school teacher. I know every single penny is being counted, you know, at around kitchen tables. We should talk about that. We should talk about how our plans are better to address that than the alternative."
The former NFL linebacker-turned-Congressman says the Republican Party isn't offering real solutions to America's problems, and it just focuses on "revenge based" policies like impeaching President Biden, undoing mask and vaccine mandates, and focusing on what he called "wokeism" in America.
"I think this wokeism thing is going to backfire. We're an increasingly diverse country. Every election is the most diverse electorate we've ever had in this country," Allred said. "If the Republicans want to run down this lane of just pursuing a shrinking portion of the electorate and talking about what they're afraid of instead of what they're for, I don't think that's a long-term winning strategy."
Allred also commented on the rising tensions at the Ukraine-Russia border, with over 150,000 Russian troops around Ukraine and the expectation by the U.S. that an invasion by Russia could be imminent.
"Our intelligence assessments are that we think the Russians have decided to go in, and we're hoping to dissuade them still, but that decision has been reached and it is only a question of when," Allred said. He added that he believes Russians are "miscalculating" the international response, should Russian President Vladimir Putin choose to invade, and that Putin is "surrounded by a group of yes men who are not telling him the truth."
Russia/Ukraine: "You know, our intelligence assessments are that we think the Russians have decided to go in and we're hoping to dissuade them still, but that decision has been reached and it is only a question of when… The Russians, I think, are miscalculating what they think the international response will be… I think Vladimir Putin is increasingly isolated and surrounded by a group of yes men who are not telling him the truth."
Will 2022 midterm election results be "verifiable and acceptable?" "I think they'll be verified and acceptable, but that doesn't mean that the election will be conducted in a way that was fair and equitable for every voter. And so what we're seeing right now in Texas is extremely high rejection rates for vote by mail applications because of a change to the state law around how you can apply for a vote by mail ballot."
State of the Republican Party: "I think that we have to also recognize that this is a different version of the Republican Party…This is not the John Boehner and Paul Ryan crew. This is a group that is extreme and that has already said, you know, I think most of their focus from what they're talking about, what they want to do is revenge based. You know, whether it's Hunter Biden or, you know, trying to impeach President Biden"
House Democrats' midterm prospects: "It's clear that, you know, we are facing a tough election coming up and that we have to get our very best team on the field. And there are some folks who may feel that, you know, they put so much energy into getting to this point that you know, that they're going to get off here. But you know, we haven't seen anyone, at least, that I'm aware of, except for maybe one or two who are retiring and seats that we will lose because they are no longer there."
Executive producer: Arden Farhi
Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin
Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com
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