Monday, February 25, 2019

2020 Challenger Lineup: Julian Castro

UPDATE: After his performance in the first Democratic debate in which he was the only Democratic candidate maybe ever to mention non-binary people and laid out the best immigration plan yet, I'm bumping Castro up an entire letter grade to a C.

If you forgot who Julian Castro is, he was Obama's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the youngest member of the former president's cabinet. If you still don't remember, he's the one with the really weird smile. Not that such a thing should have any impact on his campaign, but it absolutely will.

As his name suggests, Castro is a Latinx man. I reiterate that he gets automatic bonus points for having the last name "Castro."

Castro is a capitalist and I very much suspect him of being a neoliberal. He has some progressive positions, such as supporting Medicare for All, but holds back in other ways, such as supporting free college for only the first two years. Also, he promised not to take any PAC money for his campaign, but he also formed a PAC in 2017, so it's hard to believe he's really anti-PAC.

Socially, Castro is liberal, supporting LGBT rights and abortion. However, he wants ICE to be "reconstituted" rather than abolished.

There's not much on Castro since his only lawmaker experience is being the mayor on San Antonio. I don't think of a lack of experience as being a dealbreaker necessarily but it does make a candidate harder to predict. Also, his 2020 campaign website doesn't even have a platforms section. How are we supposed to know what he would do as president?

As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro did successfully work toward making housing more affordable. One of his "signature projects" was ConnectHome, which worked to get internet access to more communities and to kids in public housing.

Interestingly, Castro violated to Hatch Act while vocally supporting Hillary Clinton as HUD secretary in 2016.

He and his twin brother, Joaquin, once sought advice from Lionel Sosa, "a Republican political sage who ran the largest Hispanic advertising agency in America," according to this Atlantic article. I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for details here.

Honestly, Castro is very unlikely to get the nomination unless he does something drastic, and nothing about his positions makes him interesting. To me, he is another neoliberal who would probably not fight for Medicare for All if he somehow became president. There is speculation that he's only running to further his career, not to jump to president but to get some attention before he inevitably drops out. If that's true, his shitty campaign website makes sense.

I'm giving Castro a D for lack of effort. Keep in mind that this grading scale doesn't even take Republicans into account. This is a scale for Democrat candidates only. It's not like I would give Mitt Romney a D as well. If anything, any Republican would get an automatic 0. So. Don't @ me.

Next week, Kirsten Gillibrand! She hasn't officially filed yet, only formed an "exploratory committee," but it seems like people are generally expecting her to run. And I'm interested in her, as she seems quite progressive. I'm excited to look into just how progressive she really is.

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