2020 Democratic Primary Candidates: Julian Castro By Phillip Howard
Julian Castro is one of the lesser known candidates in the Democratic presidential primary. Castro received his Bachelor’s in political science and communications from Stanford University in 1996, and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2000. Castro served as the mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, and gave the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the first Latino to do so. Castro was then Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2014 to 2017 under President Obama.
Castro’s lesser known status could be an advantage in a field dominated by U.S. Senators, who have more national name recognition, but more political baggage as well. He “brings diversity and a shot of youthful charisma to the nascent Democratic contest,” thought of by some as “a Latino Barack Obama.”
Skeptics contend Castro needs a defining moment to kick start the campaign. Once a rising star in the party, Castro “has been out shined in the ever-expanding field by brighter stars and non-stars alike.”
With that said, Castro could serve as a dark horse candidate. Castro’s “ideal scenario is to be a viable candidate when the primaries start in February,” especially in key states such as California and Texas, both of which hold primaries on Super Tuesday, and have a large number of delegates coupled with a sizable Latino population.
Castro has carved out a more progressive policy agenda, supporting Medicare-for-All, women’s reproductive rights, gun control advocate, and tax increases for the most wealthy. Castro was one of the first 2020 candidates to not accept donations from corporate PAC’s.
Immigration is Castro’s central issue. Castro has criticized the president’s approach to border security, citing “a crisis of leadership.” Trump promised “that is Americans could just be cruel enough to separate babies from their parents at the border, that it would deter more families from coming over.” With this approach having failed, Castro calls for setting aside the “political ploy” of building a wall, and treating people with compassion, not cruelty and like they are criminals.
Castro is currently polling around 2 percent, while raising $1.1 million during the first quarter of the year. To remain viable, Castro will need to qualify for the debates this summer- he is currently meeting the polling threshold -and seek to use that stage to take his campaign to the next level.
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College