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Julián Castro

D

Twitter Followers: 512.3K

Secretary, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (2014 - 2017)

2019


Quick Facts
Personal Details

Julián Castro is a former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development who served during the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017.

Castro announced that he was running for president of the United States on January 12, 2019. He said he achieved universal preschool in San Antonio during his time as mayor and would do the same nationally. Castro has also promoted Medicare for All and housing affordability.

Prior to serving in the Obama administration, Castro was the mayor of San Antonio for five years. He also served on the San Antonio City Council, representing District 7.

Castro was born in 1974 and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science/communications in 1996 and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000. Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001. At the age of 26, he was the youngest council member in the city's history.

Castro did not seek re-election to the city council in 2005, instead running for mayor of San Antonio. He lost that election but ran again in 2009 and won with 56% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2011 and 2013. During his second term as mayor, Castro delivered the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Castro served as mayor until 2014, when President Barack Obama (D) named him U.S. secretary of housing and urban development. The Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 71-26. Castro filled this position until the end of Obama's second term in 2017.

In 2018, Castro published a memoir entitled, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream.

Below is an abbreviated outline of Castro's academic, professional, and political career:

  • 2014 - January 20, 2017: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • 2009 - 2014: Mayor of San Antonio
  • 2005: Ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of San Antonio
  • 2001 - 2005: San Antonio City Council member
  • 2000: Earned J.D. from Harvard Law School

DNC keynote

Castro delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. The full speech can be viewed here.

Education

  • JD, Law, Harvard Law School, 1997-2000
  • BA, Political Science/Communications, Stanford University, 1992-1996

Professional Experience

  • JD, Law, Harvard Law School, 1997-2000
  • BA, Political Science/Communications, Stanford University, 1992-1996
  • Former Attorney, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, Limited Liability Partnership

Political Experience

  • JD, Law, Harvard Law School, 1997-2000
  • BA, Political Science/Communications, Stanford University, 1992-1996
  • Former Attorney, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, Limited Liability Partnership
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Secretary, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2014-2017
  • Mayor, San Antonio City Council, 2009-2014
  • Member, San Antonio City Council, 2001-2005

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • JD, Law, Harvard Law School, 1997-2000
  • BA, Political Science/Communications, Stanford University, 1992-1996
  • Former Attorney, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, Limited Liability Partnership
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Secretary, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2014-2017
  • Mayor, San Antonio City Council, 2009-2014
  • Member, San Antonio City Council, 2001-2005
  • Founder, San Antonio 2020, present

Other Info

— Awards:

  • Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, 2010;
  • 40 under 40, Time Magazine, 2010

Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. Castro announced that he was running for president of the United States on January 12, 2019.

Policy Positions

2020

Abortion

Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

Budget

1. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

2. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes

Education

Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- Unknown Position

Energy & Environment

1. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Unknown Position

Guns

Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

Health Care

Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- Unknown Position

Campaign Finance

Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Unknown Position

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

Immigration

1. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

2. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

National Security

1. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

Trade

1. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- Unknown Position

Defense

Do you support increasing defense spending?
- Unknown Position

2019

Afghanistan

Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?

- After nearly two decades of war, with troops deployed today who were toddlers on 9/11, it is clear that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. A continued U.S. military effort will not change this fact. I will end the United States’ general combat role in Afghanistan by the end of my first term.

I will also prioritize peace in Afghanistan, which means ending the conflict, not just our part in it. To accomplish this, we need to strengthen the Afghan government and ensure it has the capacity and legitimacy to protect the rights of all Afghans. This will require continued multilateral diplomatic efforts to secure a peaceful resolution. Negotiations with the Taliban must include the Afghan government. Our goal in these negotiations should be an end to the fighting, guarantees for the rights of women and ethnic and religious minorities, and a commitment from all parties to combat and root out international terror groups.

Trade

1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

- The United States must lead in writing the rules for global trade for American workers and American businesses to be the biggest winners. Trump’s erratic trade wars, with no end in sight, has cost American families up to $1000 this year in taxes and increased consumer costs across the board. I am not summarily opposed to trade deals, but we must learn from the lessons of agreements that have been signed.

Trade deals have too often centered the interests of corporations over workers and profits over people. I believe any new trade deal must empower working people, the poor, and other historically marginalized groups not just in the United States but also in partner countries to improve livelihoods. That includes standards for independent organized labor, technical assistance for workers to unionize, and robust monitoring to ensure equally enforceable agreements. I would only negotiate trade agreements that have enforceable labor standards that raise wages and promote organized labor in our partner countries. These agreements must have meaningful and extensive input from the labor unions in the United States from the beginning through initiation, negotiation, implementation, and sustainment of an agreement.

Trade agreements will also be a powerful tool to use the allure of the United States market to further our climate goals. My first official action as President will be to recommit the United States to the Paris Climate agreement. I believe trade agreements should require a commitment to meeting goals nder the Paris Climate agreement and follow-up agreements that the United States needs to negotiate to reach net-zero globally by 2050.

This approach uses our economic leverage to ensure binding labor and climate commitments while advancing America’s workers and improving the lives of millions of working families across the world.

China

How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?

- The strongest foundation for our security is our moral leadership. We need to ensure that America leads the world when it comes to advancing universal values and defending human rights. While there are areas we can work with China, such as climate change and nuclear nonproliferation, our commitment to freedom and human rights must never be abandoned in pursuit of other interests. As the Chinese government seeks to raise its profile on the international stage, I will make clear that any support for the Chinese government’s ambitions to have a greater role in multilateral and international institutions will be determined by how it treats people under its rule, including the people of Hong Kong and the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The challenge the Chinese government’s actions pose to the United States are broad and include economic practices such as forced technology transfer, subsidies for state-owned enterprises, intellectual property theft. They also include efforts to undermine U.S. alliances with Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, and threats to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. I will address these challenges without abandoning our nation’s commitment to human rights.

Specific actions I am willing to take regarding these human rights violations include sanctions on officials responsible for the mass internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, penalizing companies that violate U.S. laws in utilizing forced labor in Xinjiang or supplying the Chinese government with surveillance technology, including by tech companies. I believe the United States must stand by the people of Hong Kong who march for their rights and freedoms, including by enforcing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, to apply pressure on the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to respect the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong.

Iran

Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?

- The Iran nuclear deal is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and prevent conflict in the Middle East. President Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA not only isolated us from our closest allies, it needlessly escalated tensions with Iran and has increased the risk of conflict. I would rejoin the JCPOA, provided that Iran is verifiably in compliance with the deal that President Obama and our European allies negotiated.

With the JCPOA firmly in place and Iran restrained from developing nuclear weapons, I will work with our allies to address other troubling aspects of Iranian behavior, including Iran’s ballistic missile program, its human rights record, and its destabilizing actions in the region.

North Korea

Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?

- The goal in any negotiations with North Korea’s government must be to end the country’s nuclear and WMD program. Kim Jong Un’s provocative rhetoric and destabilizing actions threaten the security of the United States and our allies in South Korea and Japan. A credible strategy to achieve this end will require interim steps. Together with our Japanese and South Korean allies, we will negotiate with North Korea to establish a credible arms control process.

This process would include a freeze on any further missile or nuclear weapon testing, stockpile and inventory transparency, constraints on any further fissile material enrichment, and restrictions to their nuclear, chemical, and ballistic missile programs, in addition to other WMDs. I would consider partial sanctions relief, in addition to other arrangements, to secure North Korea’s compliance, alongside snapback provisions for any sanctions should the North Korean government prove unwilling to hold up it’s end of a deal.

I will not repeat the current administration’s dangerous mistake of being distracted by ceremonial diplomacy while lacking verifiable progress. Furthermore, any engagement with North Korea cannot come at the cost of undermining our alliance with South Korea, whose security is a vital and non-negotiable U.S. interest. The United States will also not abandon its longstanding opposition to the North Korean government’s abysmal human rights record. Even as we engage diplomatically, any meetings between top officials must also seek to improve conditions for the North Korean people themselves.

Ukraine

What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?

- The Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine and its illegal occupation of the Crimean Peninsula are against American interests and I am committed to standing by Ukraine and our European allies in supporting Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity. The Russian military’s continuing role in violence in Eastern Ukraine is an unacceptable violation of the sovereignty of a neighboring state that threatens European security. Russia’s actions in Ukraine also undermine their commitments under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, under which Ukraine surrendered its nuclear weapons in return for security assurances. If the United States fails to confront this blatant violation of territorial sovereignty, it would establish a dangerous precedent around the world, both in enabling further territorial claims and in combating nuclear nonproliferation.

As president, I will ensure Ukraine has the tools it needs to deter any further Russian aggression, including through security assistance. I will not play political games with the security of Ukraine and of our European partners, including NATO allies that are at risk due to Russian aggressive actions. I would maintain sanctions on Russia placed by President Obama following the 2014 invasion of Crimea and work with Ukraine and countries around the world to return the Crimean Peninsula to the Ukrainian government, ensure free flow of shipping into the Sea of Azov, and end Russian support of violence in Eastern Ukraine.

With our European allies, we will pair this support for Ukraine against Russian aggression with efforts to sustain a free, democratic, and prosperous Ukraine that takes corruption seriously and establishes an inclusive society for ethnic and linguistic minorities. I will support further efforts by the Ukranian people to develop their relationship with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including in security cooperation and consideration of observer status within NATO, and contribute to the stability of Europe as a whole.

Saudi Arabia

Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

- The status quo of our relationship with Saudi Arabia is in opposition with our values and does not serve our long-term interests. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the continuing Saudi-led war in Yemen, and human rights abuses within Saudi Arabia, make clear it is long past time to reassess our relationship with the Saudi government and its ruling monarchy.

That will start with an immediate end to arms sales, military and intelligence support of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, an end to all exports of nuclear technology, equipment, or materials to Saudi Arabia, the imposition of Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on the individuals responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, and the withdrawal of any U.S. forces President Trump plans on deploying in the country. I will also order a full investigation into the full extent of the relationship between President Trump, his family, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and ensure the United States addresses Saudi human rights violations, including its treatment of women, the Shia minority in the country’s East, and the condition of guest workers from India, Bangladesh, and other countries.

While the United States will continue to have limited areas of cooperation with Saudi Arabia, as we would with any country, it is clear that the Saudi government and its leaders have taken advantage of the United States’ willful ignorance under the Trump administration. Going forward, I believe such cooperation must be significantly constrained until significant reforms are made.

Lastly, I believe that every aspect of U.S. foreign policy should address climate change, our greatest long term national security threat. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is a result of the global economy’s reliance on fossil fuels. Indeed, there is arguably no greater U.S. government subsidy for fossil fuels than our decades-long defense and support of Saudi Arabia. I will work to transition to a clean energy economy, with the added benefit of freeing the United States from any dependence on Saudi oil.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?

- A two-state solution is the only acceptable outcome of a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. I believe that only a two-state solution can serve as the foundation of a long-term peace while protecting the dignity, security, and freedom of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. In a global context of rising anti-Semitism, ensuring the Jewish people have a safe and democratic home is more important than ever. I will continue the United States’ policy to defend Israel’s security and its right to exist, which I believe can only be secured through a two-state solution.

President Trump’s failed policies have created serious impediments to achieving the two-state solution. As president, I will resuscitate the peace process that the shortsighted actions of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Trump Administration have derailed. I believe these actions, including President Trump’s willful disregard for the rights of the Palestinians, are neither in the interests of the United States nor productive in achieving a long-term peace in the region. To lead, the United States will need to regain the confidence of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples so that we can serve as a fair arbiter.

This means we must urge Israel to cease settlement construction in Palestinian territory and make clear that we will not recognize any unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank. As president, I would re-establish the U.S. mission in East Jerusalem, which will serve as a precursor to an embassy to a future Palestinian state, and invite the Palestinian people to re-establish their diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. I will also resume bilateral and multilateral development assistance to the Palestinian people, programs that were terminated by the Trump administration.

Venezuela

What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?

- Nicolas Maduro is a dictator. He bears the primary responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe that has consumed Venezuela and has gutted Venezuela’s democracy by illegally dismissing the elected representatives of the Venezualan people. His actions have led to the most severe refugee crisis in the Western Hemisphere in recent history.

President Trump’s Venezuela policy has made this bad situation worse, inflicting harm on ordinary Venezuelans and ultimately legitimizing Maduro’s hold on power by raising the spectre of past U.S. policy towards Latin America and threatening military intervention. Let’s be clear, there is no U.S. military solution in Venezuela. The Trump administration’s broader Latin America policy has also left the United States more isolated in the region and unable to lead an effective multilateral diplomatic effort to foster a much-needed transition of power in Venezuela.

We need a new approach. Our policy in Venezuela must be multilateral, diplomatic, and focused on securing democratic elections and economic recovery. As president, the United States will prioritize Latin America with a new policy of respect and engagement. I will leverage this increased engagement with the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean to impose targeted sanctions on Nicolas Maduro and Venezuelan leaders who enable and support him. I will then create a diplomatic process, with the participation of countries such as Mexico, Uruguay, Cuba, Norway, and the Vatican, to create the conditions for a peaceful transition of power and free elections, with the United States ready to support Venezuela’s road to economic recovery.

Additionally, I will focus immediately on alleviating the suffering of the Venezeulan people, including Venezuelan refugees living in Colombia and elsewhere in South America. I will grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans living in the United States and increase our efforts to resettle Venezuelan refugees in the United States.

Africa

By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?

- Given the rapid growth in many countries on the African continent, African governments, and their people have a unique opportunity to address the most pressing challenges of the 21st century such as climate change and migration. For the United States, this means we must begin a long overdue shift in putting greater emphasis in engaging with our partners on the African continent as part of our foreign policy. Expanding American engagement, including supporting strong multilateral and national institutions and deepening trade, migration, and cultural ties, is in our national security interest and reflects our nation’s values.

As president, I will prioritize relations with African governments looking to create closer partnerships with the United States, particularly with influential countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. State visits by African leaders to Washington will be treated with as much fanfare and equal protocol as those of European heads of state, while expertise in African languages, history, and politics will be as valued as expertise in Russian or Arabic for our diplomats. I will defend and expand successful initiatives such as President Bush’s President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and President Obama’s Power Africa programs while deepening American engagement with the diverse people and nations throughout the African continent. We must also repair the damage caused by President Trump’s disrespect towards African nations. His comments are not only ignorant, they are a lasting setback to the United States’ global influence.

Climate

How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?

- The United States will lead by example on climate. On Day One, I will recommit the United States to the Paris climate accords negotiated by President Obama, and place addressing the climate crisis at the center of our foreign policy. Doing so is not just necessary to reduce carbon emissions, but is also an extraordinary opportunity to unleash a clean energy economy to create good paying jobs.

Developing countries are working hard to provide their people a decent standard of living as they seek to catch up with the richer nations which often directly exploited, colonized, or otherwise held back the development of much of the world. It is wrong to pit the legitimate aspirations of these countries against the moral and scientific imperative of protecting our climate. The U.S. will instead invest in developing countries, sharing the resources, tools, and capacity necessary for nations to power their economies with affordable and clean energy. Not only will this approach help address the climate crisis, it will also allow us to build the relationships necessary to continue leading in the 21st Century. Additionally, we would be creating new markets for U.S. clean energy and green technology exports, further facilitating our own transition to a zero-emission economy.

We can achieve these goals by prohibiting U.S. financing of coal projects through the Export-Import Bank, United States International Development Finance Corporation, and United States Trade and Development Agency, in addition to any foreign assistance programs, and implementing a ‘climate test’ for any financing of energy projects abroad. I also would invest an additional $10 billion a year across these agencies to support exports of U.S. manufactured goods and technology and to assist partner countries with their energy transitions. Effectively moving off coal and other fossil fuels will also require U.S. leadership in international scientific cooperation for research and development and the use of trade agreements to support climate change goals.

U.S. Foreign Policy

What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?

- Our greatest foreign policy accomplishment has been preventing another world war and leading an unprecedented proliferation of democratic governments around the world. Every decision that led to this peaceful triumph of freedom, from President Kennedy’s navigating of the Cuban Missile Crisis to President H.W. Bush’s skillful handling of the 1989 revolutions contributed to the world today where billions enjoy the freedoms that democracy allows. Successive American presidents have supported multilateralism, from the United Nations to the European Union, Organization of American States, and the Association of South East Asian Nations, each supporting U.S. interests and supporting democratic governance and norms. I believe we must continue supporting multilateralism and enact reforms to make them more representative for the 21st century. We must defend that legacy of democracy and remain vigilant from backsliding in the face of rising authoritarianism.

Our greatest mistake has been the use of American power in support of our own narrow interests at the expense of universal values. Tragically misguided military interventions, such as in Iraq and Vietnam, have caused irrevocable harm to millions of people and tainted nation’s own moral leadership. We must honestly examine the role of our policies in perpetuating injustice around the world and truly act on behalf of values recognized by the international community and celebrated as our nation’s founding virtues.

As president, I do not intend to either rest on our laurels or apologize for the past. I intend to implement the lessons learned from both our successes and failures in charting a new course forward for the United States into the 21st century. Our nation is uniquely positioned to lead a democratic, free, and diverse world. We must do this by embracing our values, standing up firmly for the rights of all, and working with others in addressing our common global challenges.

Speeches
Articles

'Cancel Culture' Candidates Don't Make the Cut in Democratic Primary

Jan. 5, 2020

WASHINGTON -- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced Thursday that he was bowing out of the 2020 Democratic primary. The only reason to notice or care is that Castro was one of the more shrill candidates, so it's good that he never found purchase in the crowded field and hence had to "suspend" his campaign. Like Kamala Harris, the California Democratic senator who dropped out in December, Castro has been part of the left's "cancel culture" that seeks to silence those with differing views rather than to debate in the marketplace of ideas. Harris tried to stand out in the primary by telling Twitter to cancel President Donald Trump's account "as a matter of safety." She must have known the stunt would fail, but clearly figured that advocating to censor a Republican president was a shrewd career move. Amen to that not working. Over the summer, Rep. Joaquin Castro, who is the former HUD secretary's twin brother and closest ally, tweeted the names and occupations of 44 constituents in his San Antonio district who had contributed the maximum amount -- $2,800 per election -- to the Trump campaign. Their contributions, the House Democrat explained, "are fueling a campaign of hate," and he argued that the anti-immigrant manifesto written by the El Paso shooter who left 22 innocents dead "could have been written by the people that write Trump's speeches." The former HUD secretary explicitly supported his brother naming names. From the start, the congressman was wrong to link Trump to the El Paso shooter. The shooter said he reached his views on what he called a "Hispanic invasion" before Trump launched his 2016 campaign. There is no linkage here, only political opportunism. Widening the circle of blame to Trump donors only expands the list to include more people who had absolutely nothing to do with the El Paso slaughter. Why would anyone who is duly appalled at those murders want to do that? On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Castro argued it was not his intent that Trump donors be harassed; besides, donor names are public record. "What I would like for them to do is think twice before supporting a guy who's fueling hate in this country," he said. That's the classic guilt-by-association tactic that hangs on the lie that all Trump supporters must be racist. Know that when a congressman tweets the names and other information about Trump donors, he is inviting intolerant co-believers to lash out at Trump supporters in inappropriate ways. It's amazing how often partisans who say they want to stop hate and protect the innocent are happy to throw gasoline on the fire in a quest to establish their moral superiority. And that's no way to win in 2020, by going after Trump donors for fueling hatred. Former President Barack Obama understands that. At an event in Chicago in October, Obama admonished younger voters for demanding purity and jumping on social media to show how "politically woke" they are. "The world is messy. There are ambiguities," Obama noted before he panned those who believe "the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people." Obama called out those who tweet against others for something they said and then pride themselves for being so strong on social justice. "That's not activism," Obama added. "That's not bringing about change." The exit of Castro and Harris also shows that excelling in the smug factor is not the ticket to winning the Democratic nomination. Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Cory Booker and Julian Castro Should Form a Ticket

Dec. 16, 2019

After failing to poll strongly enough to qualify for Thursday’s Democratic presidential primary debate, Sen. Cory Booker is now calling for the Democratic National Committee to loosen its criteria for inclusion in the January and February debates. Last week, another candidate who can’t get on the debate stage, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, hosted a town hall in Iowa to lecture voters about how their nearly all-white state has disproportionate influence in determining the nominee. If these two are trying to jump-start their sputtering campaigns, they are going about it the wrong way. They can’t complain their way to the nomination. They can’t blame the process. The onus is on them to earn more support. Booker’s gambit is slightly more worthwhile than Castro’s. Whatever your opinion about the Iowa caucuses, they aren’t going anywhere. If you can’t do well there – and by “well,” historically speaking, that means at least third place – you’re probably not going to do well anywhere else. Booker at least got all seven candidates who did qualify for the upcoming debate, as well as Castro, to sign his formal request to the DNC. His letter seeks to shame the DNC into adopting lower thresholds by implicitly drawing attention to the fact that the stage is now almost completely composed of white candidates, whereas helping Booker and Castro get back in helps diversify the proceedings. But that seemingly united front probably won't sway the DNC, because what the party wants most is an early nominee. Narrowing the debate stage nudges voters towards making a final decision by the Super Tuesday set of primaries on March 3. Reverting to sprawling debates risks dragging out the winnowing process and, in the worst-case scenario, leading to a contested convention that could fatally divide the party. Even if the DNC caves under pressure, the fundamental problem for Booker, and for Castro, wouldn’t be solved. Both have already been in most of the debates, and neither made enough of an impression on voters to rise from the bottom of the polls. How would one more debate appearance change anything? Booker and Castro don’t need another TV appearance in which they are a literal sideshow, taking up space on the edges of the stage while most viewers focus on the front-runners in the middle. In order to seize the spotlight, the two need a radical change in campaign strategy. The easiest way to do that? Join forces. Announce the formation of a Cory Booker-Julian Castro ticket. This would pair not just two people of color, but also two people with real-world governing experience at the mayoral and federal level. Two people who can bridge the divide between North and South. Two people with youthful energy who represent America’s future. By teaming up (with Booker, as the one with higher poll numbers, presumably in the top slot) they would instantly attract the major media coverage that has largely eluded them all year. Of course, after the initial novelty wore off, they would still have to deliver a message that resonates with voters. But they could at least make the case that they share important perspectives and offer unique ideas (in particular, Booker’s signature “baby bonds” plan to give every child at least $1,000 every year in a saving account they can access once they turn 18) that won’t be found on the December debate stage. The early-ticket gambit hardly guarantees the nomination. In the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Sen. Ted Cruz tried to out-maneuver Donald Trump by naming businesswoman and presidential primary dropout Carly Fiorina as his running mate. But Cruz did so in April 2016, after most states had already voted and Trump had a wide lead. It was literally a last ditch effort; after losing the Indiana primary one week after tapping Fiorina, Cruz quit. Booker and Cruz are in desperate straits as well, but the first contest in Iowa is seven weeks away. The two would have time to criss-cross the Hawkeye State, get a second chance to make a first impression, and see if they can create some synergistic magic, as Bill Clinton and Al Gore did when they first partnered 27 years ago. One tough criticism they would likely face is that by taking this step now, they would be foreclosing the possibility of having a woman on the ticket. There’s no answer they could give that would satisfy everyone. But they could at least note that a winning ticket comprised of an African American and a Latino would also make history, and then they could promise that women would be heavily represented and empowered in their Cabinet. If Booker and Castro want to get back in contention, they need to show strength. Complaining about process is what losers do when they don’t want to accept responsibility for their own weaknesses. A joint-ticket primary campaign is an opportunity to show strength and confidence, effectively demanding attention from voters and reporters by doing something essentially unprecedented, and stoking interest in what may come next. The two have an uphill battle ahead of them no matter what. They might as well face their challenges together.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Pronoun Primary: 2020 Dems Are Talking Gender Identity

Oct. 22, 2019

It was an awkward lesson in the new progressive grammar of the left. Sen. Kamala Harris walked on stage at the LGBTQ Town Hall hosted by the Human Rights Campaign and made an introduction. “Thank you, guys,” the California Democrat told the audience. “My pronouns are she, her, and hers.” That is when the crowd went wild, and when Chris Cuomo stepped in it. “Mine too,” the CNN host joked. The crowd did not like it. Neither did Harris, who replied curtly, “All right.” But that wasn't the end for Cuomo. Progressive outrage poured down on Twitter, and he was forced to issue an apology a day later: “PLEASE READ: When Sen. Harris said her pronouns were, she her and hers, I said mine too. I should not have. I apologize. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality. Thank you for watching our townhall.” The problem, some would argue, was that Cuomo is a white straight man. His preferred pronouns are not feminine; they are the masculine he, him, his -- a lower classification on the ziggurat of the left’s protected classes. By casually cracking a joke, Cuomo had come dangerously close to bigotry, even homophobia, a serious offense for a journalist covering what could become the presidential primary of gender identity. Like the prerequisite to support same-sex marriage in 2016, Democratic candidates seeking the nomination in 2020 are now expected to embrace liberal gender theory and the corresponding inclusive pronouns. But first, a grammar lesson from the updated textbook of sexual orientation and identity: "He" is the masculine third-person, singular personal pronoun that attaches to Cuomo. But if Cuomo were not a white straight male -- if he were a member of, say, the transgender or gender queer community, he could choose an entirely different set of pronouns. A transgender Cuomo might adopt the pronouns she, her, and hers, while a non-binary Cuomo could identify with the plural they, them, theirs. Or he could choose any combination of up to 30 different pronouns. This is the new frontier, and there are new rules, according to the pioneers breaking new ground. “It is a best practice for campaigns at every level from presidency to state representative to city council person,” Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Lucas Acosta told RealClearPolitics. Identifying personal pronouns is important, Acosta explained, because “presentation does not always match orientation”; for instance, an individual who looks like a man could identify as a woman. Pronouns are important to the entire LGBTQ community, he said, but especially “for gender-non-binary and transgender people, when you affirm your pronouns at introduction, you’re telling people how to acknowledge you and when they acknowledge your pronouns correctly, that then shows respect for you and your identity.” The HRC offered this tutorial to several 2020 campaigns ahead of the televised town hall. And the candidates took it to heart: Six of those who appeared on stage at the last Democratic debate went public with their pronouns. Mayor Pete Buttigieg uses he and him. The openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., has included the pronouns in his Twitter bio next to a helpful guide for pronouncing his last name (“BOOT-edge-edge"). Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren goes by she and her, as does Harris. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey identifies as he and him. So do former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and billionaire political activist Tom Steyer. President Trump certainly goes by he and him, but a RealClearPolitics request to his campaign asking about preferred pronouns went unanswered. All of this is new to campaigning. When Barack Obama ran for president the first time, he was asked about his stance on gay marriage, not his personal pronouns. (He only supported civil unions at the time.) One presidential campaign veteran of that era, a Democratic staffer speaking on condition of anonymity, said that gay issues were often a private topic relegated to high-dollar fundraisers in New York City and Hollywood, not out in the open on the campaign trail. But little more than a decade later, the LGBTQ community has become an even more potent political force and its issues have become marquee. Part of that is due to shifting public opinion. Another part stems from a crowded primary field. When more than a dozen candidates compete for the nomination, slicing and dicing and spreading out the electorate, subset voter blocs take on more clout. Democratic candidates are so aggressively courting the gay vote, Acosta said, that the Iowa Pride Festival “was basically a cattle call for candidates.” Anyone who didn’t show up was “the odd man out this cycle.” The HRC has put campaigns on notice, declaring that “the 2020 Democratic Primary has cemented the LGBTQ vote and our pro-equality voting allies as a force to be reckoned with and a constituency to court.” And the organization has developed voting maps in each of the early voting states to show how many votes are up for grabs. But what might work in a progressive primary may trigger backlash in a general election where a national electorate is still coming to grips with changing social norms. Progressive grammar is a matter of polite manners on the coasts; elsewhere, not so much. A voter in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania may not even be familiar with gender-identity pronouns, while businesses in Washington, D.C., and New York City could face thousands of dollars in fines if they run afoul of new standards. This makes some Democrats nervous, especially the ones who thought Hillary Clinton lost the Midwest -- and therefore the last general election -- because she allowed voters to think she cared more about transgender bathrooms than the Rust Belt economy. This was the postmortem diagnosis of Youngstown, Ohio, Democrat David Betras. “It doesn’t matter how much we scream and holler about jobs and the economy at the local level. Our national leaders still don’t get it,” the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party said two months after Inauguration Day. “While Trump is talking about trade and jobs, they’re still obsessing about which bathrooms people should be allowed to go into.” Ohio could decide the next election and, while Betras has stepped down from his post, he still sees the same problem. It isn’t that LGBTQ issues don’t matter, he told RCP. It’s that Democrats aren’t focusing on the electoral meat and potatoes needed to win the heartland. “What the Democrats in California and in New York need to realize is that it doesn’t matter how many votes we get in California or New York,” Betras said before “going out on a limb” and predicting that those strongholds would stay blue. “But that doesn’t get us to the promise land. What gets us there is fly-over country.” Voters in Youngstown, and hundreds of other de-industrialized places like it, care more about stagnant wages than woke signifiers of sexual orientation, according to Betras. They care less about what happens in the bedroom than in the workplace -- that is, if the local factory hasn’t been boxed up and shipped overseas. The whole election boils down to identifying what matters most to voters, said Betras, who didn’t give his preferred pronouns. He also didn’t discount that LGBTQ issues are important. Instead, he accused Democrats at the national level of serving up “a big dish of broccoli” at a moment when “a megalomaniac is putting steak in the middle of a trash can lid.” The vegetables are social issues. The steak, a promise of better jobs and a roaring economy. If Democrats don’t talk almost exclusively about winning kitchen-table issues — i.e., the economy and health care and pensions — Betras said, Trump will win. When Democrats talk about gender-identity pronouns -- something Betras doesn’t disagree with -- they run the risk of conveying to heartland voters that a new and evolving standard of progressive social justice is more important than jobs. Voters, he continued, will be insulted: “I don’t know what else to say -- and that doesn’t make me transphobic; that makes me reality-based. “What I want to say to the transgender community is that we can’t protect your rights if all we are talking about is your rights,” he said. “You’ve got to win. We are in a zero-sum game: Either we win, or we are holding our ass in our hand.” Come next November, voters will walk into voting booths where candidates have little R’s and D’s next to their names, not preferred gender pronouns. The nation has rapidly accelerated on social issues. Whether that change translates into electoral success for the left remains to be seen. Still, norms are changing, even if the current occupant of the Oval Office doesn’t after 2020. “The country has come so far in so little time; it is one more thing people will need to learn,” the HRC’s Acosta said. Eventually, he predicted, “the American public will get to a place where this becomes commonplace.”Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Events

2020

Jan. 5
Meet Julián Castro in Decorah, IA

Sun 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

The Lingonberry Decorah, IA

Jan. 5
Meet Julián Castro in Charles City, IA

Sun 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM CST

Saint Charles Brewing Company Charles City, IA