Julian Castro Says Kamala Harris Dropped Out Because Of An Unfair Media That Covers People Of Color Differently
Kamala Harris is the most recent candidate to drop out of the presidential race, demonstrating that candidates of color have struggled to gain the same attention as their white counterparts. Cory Booker and Julian Castro have each made public pleas for donations when their campaigns nearly shuttered due to a lack of funds.
Castro released a video and spoke to BuzzFeed to defend Harris following three major news outlet’s exposés on her campaign. The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development suggested that candidates of color are held to different standards by the media and their campaigns suffer because of it.
Julian Castro says the media doesn’t treat candidates of color the same.
“The way the media has treated [Kamala Harris] has been something else. The way they’ve held her to a different standard, a double standard has been grossly unfair and unfortunate,” Castro said in a Twitter video.
Following Kamala Harris’ decision to drop out of the presidential campaign, Julian Castro released a statement praising her campaign and suggesting it suffered because she was a woman of color.
“To me, they held her to a different standard, a double standard, to other campaigns. And I don’t know if it impacted her decision to withdraw from the race or not, but I’m sure it didn’t help,” Castro told BuzzFeed News.
Castro’s campaign has similarly struggled to gain momentum in the race. A lack of support disqualified Castro from participating in the most recent debate. Moreover, his campaign nearly ended before a public ask for more donations to fund its continuation.
Castro suggested the media tried to smear Harris’ campaign.
“I was disappointed by the treatment her campaign got especially during the last seven days, when you had the Washington Post, New York Times, and Politico writing very gossipy-sounding big articles trashing the campaign,” Castro said.
The articles Castro referenced suggest Harris’ campaign struggled financially, was poorly managed and lacked direction. The pieces largely rely on anonymous sources who were campaign insiders.
“[Campaign manager Juan] Rodriguez faced criticism inside the campaign over his handling of finances and other issues. Multiple people affiliated with the campaign said its financial difficulties had forced recent cutbacks in advertising, travel and staffing,” according to the Washington Post.
Over a dozen anonymous staffers told Politico Harris’ sister Maya Harris too often took the lead which only added insult to injury to Rodriguez’s poor leadership. A constant restructuring of positions, then later on layoffs, left campaigners feeling directionless.
“Everybody has had to consolidate. Everybody has had to make cuts. And people are pissed. They see a void. They want to push someone out,” an aide told Politico.” And I understand that. But the root cause of all of this is that no one was empowered really to make the decisions and make them fast and make them decisively.”
However, Castro was critical of the sources used in the three articles and painted them as salacious attempts to takedown Harris.
“Sourcing in journalism, just because somebody is willing to talk doesn’t mean that reflects a reality or that necessarily gives it front-page coverage in your publication,” Castro said. “Donald Trump was very willing to talk to journalists in 2015 and ‘16 and because of that journalists gave him a lot of coverage. There has to be more responsibility in the profession than that.”
Castro wants the DNC to reconsider the threshold to qualify for debates because candidates of color don’t get a fair shake from the press.
Harris was able to qualify for the next debate while Castro was not. The debates required candidates to fundraise an increasing monetary goal, along with polling at a certain number in order to participate. If Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang fail to qualify there may not be any candidates of color at the debate, while there will be at least one low-polling billionaire that many believe bought his way into the election.
“I hope that the DNC will reevaluate its threshold,” Castro told BuzzFeeed. “What it’s resulting in is a lack of diversity on the debate stage. It’s also clear that some have been able to potentially buy their way on stage. I don’t think that was the original intention with putting thresholds like this in place, but we need to make sure that voters have the opportunity to hear from a range of candidates.”
Castro said the DNC and media prioritize white candidates and white voters. He has been critical of the fact that Democratic primaries favor states with disproportionately high white populations.
“I actually believe that in addition to the white working class in the Midwest, we also need to be able to appeal to diverse communities in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee if we want to win Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,” he said.