For this week's episode of You Don't Have to Yell, I spoke with Mark Bauer - on the ballot as an independent for Texas' 24th congressional district. During our conversation, we discuss his upbringing in a conservative Christian household, his gradual movement away from the Republican Party, and how his Christian faith has shaped his understanding of science, politics, and social justice.
There are no two demographics viewed by outsiders as voting more monolithically Republican than Christians and Texans. As with all things in America, this stereotype fails under scrutiny. Mark Bauer, running on the ballot as an independent for Texas' 24th congressional district - a suburban district just north of Dallas-Fort Worth, began his political journey growing up in a conservative Christian household, only to find what he was taught of religion and politics didn't reflect the world he saw as an adult.
Where the Christian faith has largely entered politics on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion, Bauer's positions reflect a less discussed aspect of Christianity - that of social justice, service, and charity. This also led him to question Donald Trump's fitness as a candidate, as well as how many who share his faith embraced the president so readily.
While Bauer's positions might seem norm defying, they're representative of the district he seeks to serve. Texas' 24th district was a district that went for Trump in 2016, only to swing towards then Senate Candidate, Beto O'Rourke in 2018. During our conversation, Bauer lamented the fact that the larger trend of Texas going purple has led to it being described as a "battleground state", viewing his district as one to be represented, not a fiefdom to be won by a larger partisan apparatus.
Bauer's views on social justice, self-reliance, and personal responsibility put him in lock step with the independent mindset of the voters of Texas' 24th. While the deck is typically stacked against those not running under a major party ticket, it is 2020.