Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Reps. Will Hurd and Dan Crenshaw each represent segments of how the GOP has to adapt if it wants to remain dominant — become not so white, and younger. But in interviews with “Axios on HBO,” it’s clear they don’t agree on how to build the future GOP.

Why it matters: Both Texas congressmen are watching signs the GOP is losing its stronghold on the Lone Star State as they pursue different paths to remain relevant.

Hurd, 42, the sole black Republican in the House, has decided not to seek re-election. He’s now explicitly focusing on making the party look more like the country.

  • Many of his white colleagues still serving in Congress view that as playing a so-called identity politics game.

"I hate engaging in identity politics," Crenshaw, the second-youngest House Republican at 35, said. "I just don't take it as a given that because you're nonwhite, that we should worry about you voting Democrat."

  • "[B]ut at the same time, people need different messengers for the same message. People do want to hear that message from somebody who they can relate with," Crenshaw added.

Hurd and Crenshaw agree on some universal principles about expanding their party's appeal: show up, talk to everyone and articulate how conservatism is looking out for the people who don't look like the rest of their party.

The big picture: As they watch the changing demographics in Texas, a shift expected to keep helping Democrats win elections, they're both thinking through how to make the GOP more inclusive.

  • "I do believe that if the Republican Party doesn't start looking like the rest of the country, there won't be a Republican Party in this country," Hurd told "Axios on HBO."
  • Hurd said he's talked with at least a dozen black Republicans who want to run for Congress in the last few weeks alone.
  • More than 1 in 4 members of the House of Representatives is a racial or ethnic minority, but only 10% of that group are Republicans.
  • Crenshaw said, "We would definitely like a more diverse candidate list and we’re definitely accomplishing that for the 2020 cycle."

A Texas-sized problem for the GOP is unfolding right before their eyes. The retirement of six House Republicans from Texas at the end of this term shows a pessimism about winning back the House majority in 2020.

  • Crenshaw told "Axios on HBO" several factors are shaping the changes in Texas, including an influx of residents from bluer states, Trump's non-traditional qualities and a bump in the proportion of younger voters.
  • "President Trump wasn't as popular as maybe more traditional Republicans would be in Texas," he said. "Millennials are overwhelmingly against Trump. I think that has a lot to do with it. I think it's more of a personality distaste for him."
  • Hurd, who won his re-election last year by just over 920 votes, says, "Texas is in play."
  • "Texas is a purple state. Just because we don't have a statewide elected Democrat doesn't mean Texas is not already purple," Hurd said. "We should be operating as if it's purple."
  • Crenshaw said "it's a worry" but "a bit overstated" and that "I don't think it will happen in 2020."

What to watch: Although Hurd is not seeking re-election, he plans to help more diverse candidates around the country and make sure the GOP is talking to minorities, people under 29 and suburban women with college degrees.

  • Crenshaw's play to attract more millennials: Make conservatism "cool" again.

Go deeper: Texas Republicans admit there's a problem

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that Crenshaw "hate[s] engaging in identity politics" but believes the party needs more diverse messengers. An earlier version of this story said he dismisses the idea of specifically recruiting non-white and younger candidates.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.