Chronicle of a campaign foretold: Julián Castro wants to be president
The former mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has made it very clear that he wants to be president. What is his strategy?
If a Latino and Democratic presidential candidate seems very farfetched, think about it this way: the mid-term elections took a radical turn thanks to the increase in Hispanic participation in the polls, so why not have a relatable candidate for this demographic?
Although the question seems too simple, its connotations are not.
For a year now, a possible candidacy of Julián Castro for the presidential elections of 2020 has been rumored, speculations fed by declarations of the young politician and by the desperation of the country to see that this presidential term ends.
However, playing the race card in a political scenario like the United States does not come without consequences, especially when the number one opponent is Donald Trump.
After having formed his Political Action Committee "Opportunity First," Castro began to publicly outline his political perspectives when he told Rolling Stone that "the country is going in the opposite direction and needs new leadership," implying that he would be the candidate ideal.
"The story of a lot of vulnerable communities through the years has been there was more and more opportunity going forward," he said. "We don’t want to go backward, and that's what it seems like we’re doing now."
Like someone who loses the truth in a trickle, Castro said "maybe I will" in a tacit campaign video last December where he said he was "exploring" a candidacy for president of the United States in 2020.
The exploration didn’t last for more than a month, as the former mayor announced this week that he’s running for president “because it’s time for new leadership, because it’s time for new energy. And it’s time for a new commitment to make sure the opportunities that I had are available to every American."
At an organized political rally in San Antonio, with a speech delivered in both Spanish and English, Castro said his campaign would have some priorities shared by his Party, such as a pre-kindergarten program, expanding access to health care, the fight against climate change and, as expected, the opposition to President Donald Trump.
Julián Castro is nationally known for being a young man "with some executive experience" within the ranks of the Democratic Party's popular base.
After his tenure as Secretary of Housing and Development within the government of Barack Obama, the young politician was considered to join the campaign formula of Hillary Clinton in 2016, which definitively catapulted him to the front pages.
Castro and his twin brother, who currently leads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have framed their political career within the context of the history of their family: Mexican immigrants and political activists in the heart of Texas.
His experience as mayor of San Antonio gives him an advantage over other potential opponents - Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, for example - and it was precisely his distance from the "politics of identity" that allowed his slow but assured rise, according to Vox.
But not everything is a bed of roses, much less in politics.
Castro will have to face what is predicted as the most crowded Democratic primaries in years, and in a country deeply divided at multiple levels, because whoever believes that the United States is either blue or red has not been paying attention.
The young politician must face the onslaught of highly aggressive political machinery, as is that of Donald Trump, and must also win the support of those who don’t identify themselves by colored bands but rather with groups with very specific needs.