How Julián Castro ended up being the real winner in the Democratic debate
Despite not being physically on stage, the former housing secretary was the winner of the public debate on social media.
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Dividing attention between the public hearings on the president's impeachment and the fifth Democratic debate was not easy.
The daily fatigue and the amount of information bombarding to the ordinary citizen means that it is difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening in the country.
To deal with it, many of us - if not all - turn to social media, where public opinion seems to be increasingly clear.
This was more than evident during the Democratic event in Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer took the stage to talk mainly about how defeating President Trump in the 2020 election is the country's priority.
For the rest of us, however, there was a figure in the wings who was anything but silent: Julian Castro.
The only Latino presidential candidate could not qualify for the fifth debate because of a lack of funds in his campaign, but not because of a lack of ideas.
While his colleagues respectfully praised each other—and formed a particular coalition against Gabbard—Castro spent the day in an Atlanta neighborhood founded by slaves and "whose residents are now fighting gentrification," according to NBC News.
Paradoxically, the issue of immigration and race disparity in the country was conspicuous in its absence on the Democratic stage.
Since we are bringing up black and brown women, in the words of @angela_rye, Secretary @JulianCastro has been the "Chief Racial Justice Advocate" in the race.— Mayra Macías (@lachicamayra) November 21, 2019
Despite not being at this #DemocraticDebate, he’s already shaped the debate. https://t.co/qkcNXBSQe7
"From the very beginning of this campaign, I've spoken out for the most marginalized, the people that have been forgotten, for the poor and not only the middle class, but people who are poor in this country and spoken out to make sure everyone can succeed, a country where everyone counts," Castro said while on the streets. "And so we're going to go where we have the opportunity to deliver that message."
Apparently, that message has been received loud and clear by public opinion.
Instead of "impeachment" or "debate," the most important trend in social media during the Democratic event was "Julián Castro.”
"In a time when the Latino community has been under attack by this current administration, there is no Latino candidate on the national Democratic debate stage tonight. Why?," asked Julio Ricardo Varela, founder of the Latino Rebels platform.
In a time where the Latino community has been under attack by this current administration, there is no Latino candidate on the national #DemDebates stage tonight. Why? I try to begin searching for answers.https://t.co/zsmM7OeX9i— Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77) November 21, 2019
"The media should start covering Julián Castro as the viable candidate he is," added cultural commentator April Reign.
Even Representative Pramila Jayapal turned to Twitter to confess to missing Julian Castro "on many levels," including "that no one has talked about immigration.”
For Varela, on the other hand, Castro's physical absence from the debate may also have something to do with his own "shyness" in the campaign.
"To many, Castro was too polite, too polished, too moderate," the journalist wrote in an opinion column. " The political media didn’t take him seriously — though some would say it’s because the political media was focused more on candidates who were chasing the mysterious 'white Midwestern voter' than paying more attention to a Mexican American leader who was also once mayor of a major American city.”
It is true that Castro's campaign has barely found the fuel it lacked in recent months, but the fact that his name is mentioned inside and outside DNC events speaks clearly to what the country needs, as well as to the Committee's questionable parameters.
While a candidate like Castro, who checks more boxes than many, is left out of the debate, multimillionaires like Tom Steyer simply seem to "buy" their place on the stage.
2020 presidential candidate @JulianCastro was excluded from last night's #DemDebate for not meeting the DNC's polling threshold. "I understand [the DNC's] thinking," he says. However, the fact that candidates can "buy their way onto that debate stage" should make them reconsider. pic.twitter.com/2WmV8oqsgD— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) November 21, 2019