Julián Castro, putting the country back on track
The former mayor of San Antonio spoke with Rolling Stone about his vision for the country, which could include his candidacy for the White House.
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As the midterm elections approach, a character has been raising his presence on the national stage. This is Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and politician of Mexican descent who made an appearance in national politics when he became a finalist in the list of potential partners for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Earlier this year, Castro declared that he would devote all his efforts to "helping the Democrats win positions in the state legislatures and the party to retake the majority in Congress," while simultaneously considering the possibility of a presidential candidacy with his name on it.
Eight months later, Castro spoke with Rolling Stone about his vision for the country, his perspective on the mistakes made in the 2016 elections and the changes needed to straighten the course of the nation.
"I have a strong vision for the country," he said. "I believe that our country is going in the wrong direction and that it needs new leadership."
Castro echoes the slogan he coined six years ago about "always going forward," a position that directly connects with his mother's journey as an immigrant in the country, and that represents the "optimism" typical of those who always seek to move in the opposite direction of what makes them stagnate.
"The story of many vulnerable communities through the years has been there was more increasing and more opportunity going forward," he explained. "We don’t want to go backward, and that's what it seems like we’re doing now."
As a Democrat, Castro believes that the solution lies in learning from the mistakes of the past and understanding that political campaigns are not an impulse contained in a couple of months, but a long, constant and dedicated process, especially in states that are often overlooked.
"There is nothing that we can do about 2016 except learn from it," he said. "And what we learned was that we can’t take anything for granted - that you have to campaign hard all the way through the finish line even in the states that you might think you have. I am confident that in the 2020 cycle, Democrats are going to robustly campaign in every single state and not take anything for granted."
Similarly, the Latino politician believes that the message should be concise, precise and easy to understand, that it’s useless to have a plan if you can’t communicate with the voters, listen to their needs and address them as your own.
Taking special consideration of the current national political landscape - where liberal candidates lean toward social and youth movements, as well as advocate for a change of the economic model - Castro is especially optimistic, recalling the campaigns of Andrew Gillum in Florida, Stacey Abrams in Georgia or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, candidates who "recognize that often times folks who are grappling with the lack of job opportunity in their community are also grappling with fear of being brutalized by law enforcement," and that many times young people are the most vulnerable but at the same time less likely to vote.
However, if the Democrats take Castro's advice, the midterm elections could be the beginning of a radical change in the country, and who knows? Maybe they will even be the prelude to a first Latino president.