Today, Democratic former Mayor of San Antonio Texas, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Juan Castro officially announced he is running for president in 2020. And the left yawned. Sec. Castro seems to be a good man, but beyond that, his centrist brand of politics does not offer any real solutions to today’s problems.
Juan Castro is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant grandmother, who crossed into Texas after her parents died in the Mexican revolution, in 1922. His mother was a political activist, and throughout his career, he has talked of their struggles through racism and poverty as being an inspiration to him and his career. He grafted his way to Stanford, and to Harvard Law School, then was elected Mayor of San Antonio in 2009, serving till 2014, where he was picked as Obama’s Secretary for HUD. He’d previously given the keynote speech in 2012 at the Democratic Convention where Obama accepted the nomination to run for his second term. His family’s passion for politics reached not just him, but also his twin brother Joaquin Castro, who is a Congressman representing Texas’ 20th district, and will be Joan’s campaign manager.
So, after founding an exploratory committee in December, Sec. Castro has decided he will run for the White House. But as you may have guessed from my opening statement, it’s not much cause for excitement. Joaquin Castro is a centrist - so much so in fact he was an initial contender for Hillary Clinton’s VP pick in 2016. The time for centrist politics, if there ever was one, is long, long gone. The corporate heart of Washington politics is destroying America, and taking the world along with it. The ancient strategy of being nice to Republicans to win over conservative ‘moderates’ is ridiculous in this day and age. Yet it’s one revered still as the gold standard of political planning by D.C. strategists, candidates and pundits. People want deep, radical, and immediate change. A dry platform of running ‘against Donald Trump’ but not for a bold agenda of necessarily anti-corporate, anti-money in politics, anti-establishment solutions will pick up next to nothing in the polls. People in America are dying from poverty. From oppression.
Sec. Castro would have to break with what he’s known for (though admittedly that’s not a lot) inside the DC inner circles. He did mention Climate Change and education as priorities. That’s good, but without firm specifics or major shows of commitment to those policies, and the other progressive minimums, he won’t pick up any credibility with the leftist base of the party.
Sec. Castro told crowds at his announcement event that "I am not a frontrunner in this race, but I have not been a frontrunner at any time in my life,". He cited life in the impoverished neighborhood he grew up in, saying people there were never considered frontrunners. For this race, his assessment of his position is correct. He’s likely to be one of the first to drop out. Not because he’s a bad guy, but because of the central tennant the Democratic Party needs to learn. The time of centrist, Republican appeasing, corporate, platitude politics is over.
People at large want bold solutions to their problems, and will only accept someone who can deliver them.