In an interview last month, newly elected Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said that he would be willing to debate fellow freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
The interview, conducted by independent journalist Mike Aye at Turning Point USA’s Student Activism Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida, primarily focused on civility in politics, with Crenshaw insisting that both sides must not demonize each other.
“I’m very conservative,” Crenshaw began. “There’s not a whole lot of things I agree with on the Left. But, that doesn’t mean they’re bad people, and I would appreciate if they didn’t think we were bad people just because we have these conservative beliefs …”
Aye asked Crenshaw about the new popularity of democratic socialism:
“Democratic socialism, what is your exact take on that with the new wave of Democrats coming in [to Congress]?”
“So we talked about, you know, bad people, bad ideas. This is a good example of a very bad idea,” Crenshaw said. “That’s democratic socialism in a nutshell. It’s a dangerous idea. It’s outside the window of reasonable debate. That’s the reality. The things that they are proposing, Green New Deal, destroy all fossil fuels within 10 years. These are outside the windows of reasonable debate.”
Crenshaw pointed out that the supporters of democratic socialism are “alienated within their own party.”
While there are many things that he could collaborate on with moderate Democrats, he said, working with democratic socialists would be more difficult.
“But you know socialism is — democratic socialism, it doesn’t matter what you call it, when you look at their policies it is socialism — for all sorts of reasons are dangerous and if we ever have any doubts about what those dangers might be, we can just look at century’s worth of history on what socialism has done to people and countries and it’s not good,” said Crenshaw. “It’s not good. It’s a great way to undermine the foundations that make this country great. There is nothing to discuss there.”
Aye then turned to asking Crenshaw about one of the democratic socialists.
“I personally believe that you would be the perfect person to debate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Aye said. “Has anyone ever told you that before?”
“It’s been brought up,” Crenshaw said. “Maybe one day.”
“Would you debate her?” Aye asked.
“Yeah, why not?” he said. “Of course, I’ll debate anybody pretty much. I could imagine that being interesting and fun. At the same time, what are you even debating? It would be a good show but our ideas are so far removed from each other.”
Aye pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez has been challenged to debates by many conservatives, including Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, to which she responded that Shapiro was “cat-calling her.”
“I think the people want to see her talk about her ideas with somebody who doesn’t agree with her, and she is not giving the people that,” Aye said.
“No, I don’t think she will debate,” he said. “We’ll see if we are on the same committees. We’ll see it on CSPAN. Debate is healthy, you should have those discussions. I think the proper way to even address someone like Alexandria is to simply ask her the questions that you wish journalists would ask her…”
Crenshaw then gave CNN’s Jake Tapper credit for when he asked Ocasio-Cortez how she would pay for costly government programs in September.
“When you’re throwing out such radical ideas like that, asking for a little bit of explanation is probably the best way to debate them because there is no explanation,” Crenshaw said. “These are not well-thought out ideas. I don’t like being hyperbolic in my language, but they’re dangerous. They’re dangerous ideas.”
Crenshaw added that the ideas would “result in the exact opposite effects of what you want.”
“You want to help the poor? This will do the opposite because we’ll have less jobs. A diminishing economy based on the policies you want to put in place hurts the poor,” he said. “Destroying an entire energy industry that hurts the working class. That hurts my family in particular. It hurts my district. And it hurts everybody who wants to heat and cool their homes. These things have consequences and you have to think through those issues.”
“I think that maybe somebody like me should question her on these things and talk about those ideas,” Crenshaw concluded.