Presidential Candidate Julián Castro Opens Up About Juggling His Fight For Latinos In His Campaign And Being A Dad
Julián Castro is a huge underdog in the crowded Democratic field of presidential hopefuls. He knows it and has never shied away from that fact. It’s also the reason that he’s still in the race. From the start of his campaign, Castro, the only Latino in the race, has run on the platform of giving a voice to those Americans who have been counted out, kinda like himself.
“If there is one thing that has distinguished my campaign is that I’ve spoken to the most vulnerable, the often voiceless in this country and I haven’t been afraid to speak up for the poor because too often Democrats talk about the middle class but somewhere along the way we forgot to speak up for the poor,” Castro says. “I’m doing both of those things.”
Castro believes in this and isn’t going to let polls or political pundits stop him from campaigning. Unfortunately for Castro, voters won’t get to see him on the Democratic debate stage in Atlanta this week. This due to the fact that he didn’t reach the polling criteria of 3 percent or higher in four approved polls or 5 percent in two early state polls.
Despite this, Castro isn’t going away or shutting down his campaign. He’s getting “real” with voters and in recent weeks has called out the Democratic establishment for its primary process.
The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama has run one of the most progressive campaigns of any Democrat currently in the field. When it’s come to issues like housing, immigration, and even animal cruelty, Castro has released some of the most comprehensive and well-received polices. He says that’s because these plans aren’t just talking points but real problems that Americans across this country are facing.
“We’re trying to connect the dots with policies that match up with the way people actually live. People don’t live in silos and we shouldn’t make policies that reflect that,” Castro said. “I learned that very early on as a councilman and a mayor and I saw that as Housing Secretary, it’s not enough to address the issue of education, housing or criminal justice reform, you gotta address everything.”
For Castro, that also means addressing issues within his own Democratic establishment. Last week, he criticized the Democratic nominating process, particularly the role of Iowa and New Hampshire in determining the nominee, two states where the electorates are mostly white.
He told MSNBC that the two states are not “reflective of the United States as a whole, certainly not reflective of the Democratic Party, and I believe that other states should have their chance.” While there was some criticism of those comments, Castro did begin an important conversation that he feels needed to be addressed.
“Democrats know that I’m telling the truth here. We’ve been justifyingly calling out Republicans who have been trying everything they can to suppress the vote of people of color. But at the same time, we start our presidential nomination process in two states that have very little people of color, ” Castro said. “People know that I’m speaking the truth here.”
Castro doesn’t view himself as the “Latino candidate” nor has he ever used his background to gain some votes. He’s says that he’s running the campaign on the basis that someone like him can represent everybody.
While he might not be on the upcoming debate stage or at top of most polls, Castro is being seen and his message of uplifting forgotten communities is being heard. Castro is optimistic about his chances and his supporters are standing by his side through it all.
“We’re gonna work like crazy to shine a light on the people and the problems that are out there that voters want solved,” Castro said. “I’ve gone to places that few other candidates have gone. I’ve spoken to the homeless, those in jails, I just went into an ICE check-in for a migrant that was seeking asylum. We’re going to keep uplifting the lives of people who have been forgotten.”
Castro finds relief from the perils of a long campaign when he’s back in his home in San Antonio. He is rarely home while campaigning but when he is you can find him hanging out with his family, including his two children, Christian and Carina. It’s those moments he says that puts everything in perspective and in some way serves as a reminder of the importance of continuing his campaign.
“What I hope that young Latinos and Latinas are seeing in this campaign is that they can compete with anyone, anywhere, on any stage I haven’t run this campaign on the basis to vote for me because I’m Latino but someone like me can represent everybody.”