A Different Kind of Hope: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro Addresses the DNC

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BRIAN BLANCO / EPA

Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas is cheered by delegates at the Democratic National Convention at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, 04 September 2012.

Stop me if this sounds familiar: a talented young Democratic politician, a Harvard Law grad raised by a single mother, said to be the future of his party, gets the keynote address at the Democratic convention. In 2004, this story was Barack Obama‘s. Eight years later, it is Julian Castro’s.

Elected to city council at just 26, Castro, now 37, is the mayor of San Antonio and Texas Democrats’ hottest prospect. When he addresed the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Tuesday night, party power brokers were watching closely. It’s not just that the last relatively unknown politician to get top billing at the DNC wound up as President. It’s that Castro has the potential to become a national figure at a time when the Latino vote gets more important every election cycle, and Democrats’ bench of Latino stars is relatively shallow.

Castro’s speech was effective, if a little formulaic. He turned his family’s up-by-the-bootstraps story into a prosecution of Mitt Romney. “I think he’s a good guy,” Castro said. “He just has no idea how good he’s had it.” There was a cute moment when his three-year-old daughter flipped her hair when she realized the camera was on her, and he got the crowd going with a call and response.  But ultimately, the identity of the messenger was more important than his message.

Over the last eight years, Latinos have become more than the fastest growing voting bloc in the U.S.–they’re beginning to look like the core of the Democratic party. George W. Bush made some inroads in 2004, but Obama beat John McCain among Latinos by 36 points in 2008. Since then, that lead has grown to more than 40 points, according to recent polls, despite a tighter contest overall between Obama and Mitt Romney. The Obama campaign says its lead among Latinos is transforming Western swing states like Colorado and New Mexico into Blue territory, and Democrats hope that redder states like Arizona and even Texas will eventually follow.

Despite these gains, Republicans have bested Democrats in recruiting top-talent Latino politicians to vouch for their party. 2010 saw high-profile Republican Latinos win statewide races in Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. Last week’s Republican convention in Tampa prominently featured all three of those officeholders–Governors Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez, and Senator Marco Rubio—as well as a star turn for Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz.

Democrats, meanwhile, have few big-name Latinos on the roster. Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson has mostly moved on from politics after losing a presidential bid in 2008 and withdrawing from consideration for Obama’s Commerce Secretary under a cloud of corruption allegations. And while Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is chairing this year’s Democratic convention and could be well-positioned to run for California Governor in 2014, alleged ethics violations and an extramarital affair with a reporter have dampened his national prospects.

That deficiency has only increased Democrats’ hope—or hype, as Republicans tell it—that Castro can take on a bigger role in the future.  He has a relatively thin political resume, but as the Dallas Morning News writes, Castro looks to be a savvy operator. On Tuesday night he had the stage to prove it. As Obama knows, there are worse ways to launch a national political career.

28 comments
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radsenior
radsenior

     I do believe America has seen the new voices of America's unknown 

Socio-Politio-Economic power and emerging group which not to be played with. They do not always see eye-to-eye, but the differences are few and far between.

     Raised by divorced parents, he worked his way up through both Stanford then Harvard Law School. A grandson of a Mexican orphan, he came in to this world with the deck stacked against him. A bright student, he skipped the sophomore year in high school, and graduated ninth in his class.     He ran first for city council, then for mayor of San Antonio, Texas. His 2011 re-election he won 82% of the vote, unheard of for a Democratic mayor in what is considered red-state Texas.     His choice for the keynote was not for his political connections, or for his oration skills, but for his genuine and heartfelt story. He came before the convention to tell his story. Instead of driving a stake into the heart of the Romney campaign, he barely touched on the Republican candidate; discussing the Republican party platform, before going in to his own story. This will not win him fans from those on the Right, and likely will gain him ridicule from the racists to be found there. But it mattered where it counts, in the hearts and minds of the American people.     Let it be known the Socio-Politio-Economic power of this emerging group is not to be played with. As a Texan of American-Mexican descent, it gives me great pleasure to offer my services to fully support Julian Castro for any political position he would enter. 

Robert Chambers
Robert Chambers

Latinos should be the core of the democratic party after all look at all the guns Holder turned over to them and Obama is letting the illegals stay which is bull. 

carotexas
carotexas

Adam as I watched him last night I thought he could be the Hispanic version of Obama, and the little girl clinched this thinking.  He could be a great role model for Hispanics in the southwest more so than Rubio.

I know Cruz only by his robo calls for the primary and they were not what I would want my children to admire.

nana4gj
nana4gj

Mayor Julian Castro is subject to some of the same criticisms of anyone who adheres to worn out ideology and the expected nay sayers.  There are no losers when a community, a family, chooses to invest in education, whether that is early education with pre-K or college.  In cities where children of certain socioeconomic status are at high risk, it is worth every penny of any piddling amount of sales tax used toward this investment.

Some people want some other people to just disappear.  They do not want to invest in healthcare, education, job training, reproductive choices, much less keep the freedom of their choices and opportunities alive for self determination and individual responsibility.  But they also want to berate those same people for "having too many babies", "lolling about in hammocks" and waiting for their "freebies and their hand outs", and to be skeptical about the legitimacy of someone who has worked within the system of community to succeed and produce and to "make it", while wanting to continue to "pay it forward".  

They want some of us to just remain invisible.  Or to continue to serve as their scapegoat for their own failings or their own limitations.  That may never be changed with convincing oratory or legislation that ensures justice and equality.  That kind of thinking is  emotional, human response, that cannot be educated away or legislated.  It comes from personal need systems:  if you get something, it will take away from me and mine.

Our Mayor did a great job last night.  He was "purro San Antonio"....pure San Antonio, a perfect representation of all that is the "carino"...the heart and soul of what makes San Antonio, 7th largest city in the nation, a user friendly, comfortable, kind and friendly, fun loving, home that celebrates diversity with fiestas, parades, food fests; that extends our hospitality to those who visit us as tourists from all over our country and our world; and that keeps a level head on our shoulders, able to care for each other as family while able to speak hard truths and see clearly the need to keep moving forward, with a smile and a touch of that special kind of humor that takes nothing from anyone else's dignity.

There can be no limit to our investment in people.  It is people, after all,  who is a country.  America is not just a geographic place on a map.  It is the name of that place where People live, thrive, define who we are,  in community, who enjoy the benefits of our Union and who "pay it forward" in the great relay race of living in this place we call "America".

f_galton
f_galton

This guy is a bigger nonentity than Obama.

Palladia
Palladia

"This guy" is presently the mayor of San Antonio, Texas.  Obama is presently the President of the United States.

Who are you?

f_galton
f_galton

mayor of San Antonio is mostly ceremonial. Castro is an affirmative action byproduct, whose only "accomplishments" are toadying to scumbags like mikal watts and being a Mexican.

f_galton
f_galton

The Mayor of San Antonio has little power, and the government is run by the City Manager. These are facts, amigo.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

f galton, you should look it up.  The mayor presides over the city council, which approves taxes, budgets, appropriations and hires the city manager, who serves at their pleasure.  

f_galton
f_galton

San Antonio's government is run by its City Manager. You can look these things up, though you probably can't because you are lazy.

Palladia
Palladia

Why is the position of mayor of San Antonio "mostly ceremonial," when the mayoral job in even small towns requires a certain level of work?  Somehow, I think you've let your animus overcome your reason.

I detect an overload of prejudice on your end.  It's tipped you into an unpleasant position.

Mr. Galton, it is unwise to the point of infantilism to cast aspersions on the behavior of someone about whom you know very little.

MrObvious
MrObvious

He's a racist sprig and bigot. That should count for something.

Palladia
Palladia

Maybe, but it's on the wrong side of the ledger, and in red ink.

doubtingthomas123
doubtingthomas123

Castro is a Baby Obama.  He is spending money in San Antonio like there is no tomorrow, because the city is conserative and it has low umemployment and the Eagle Ford Shale giving it a boost.  This idiot is trying to impliment a Head Start program financed by a sales tax????   He has disregarded the federal goverment study of 2010 that had over 100 points of comparison on Head Start to see if it helps children leaving 1rst grad.  It was not better on any point!!!  NONE!!! Head Start is another feel good failure and this guy wants to put is on the mantel for his federal bid.  Unfortunately for him, good for the citizens of the USA,  he lives in Texas and has no shot at Senator and a slim chance at Representative. 

shellbank
shellbank

Hope?  Didn't we go down that road four years ago?  I'm tired of  hope, I want to see some real progress and that is something I haven't seen with this president. 

La_Randy
La_Randy

Of course you have forgotten the obstruction of the republican party.

The idiocy of electing the no party to the house was not conducive to moving this country forward, but whatever.

Useyourheadnow
Useyourheadnow

"A different kind of Hope," it's called delusional and frought with disinformation. Castro's revisionist history aside, his facts were all wrong. According to the Dept. of Labor and Industry, this administration has lost between 37,000 and 0 jobs; nowhere near the 4.5 million Created Castro fabricated. I would expect that Time would have fact checked the mayor's speech before bestowing all of these platitudes upon him. Castro elevated "linguistic gymnastics" to an Olympic event during his speech and the author of this gushing editorial piece should be embarrassed by his overt bias.

It's bad enough that the "Centrists" of this country have to take back power from the über-liberal AND the right wing extremist politicians, but we have to fight our way through the biased media to do so... My goodness, what have we come to?

Time is part of the problem in America; media organizations with an agenda. What ever happened to unbiased, non-partisan reporting in America? Shameful.

radsenior
radsenior

Every politician plays with words for maximum emphasis. Toying with absolute correctness would not allow any speech to be made.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

You're quoting stats that aren't true.

Mary Riddell
Mary Riddell

Totally agree!  Most of these speeches are woven with half-truths.  I  voted for Obama last time and now I find myself a total fool!  The lies, the loss of freedoms, the attacks on religion and those who do not agree, are  pretty off-putting.  I work with a large group of single moms who are now on welfare and food stamps to supplement their salaries.  I see no future for them except more food stamps!  Obama has them where he wants them.  They will remain the lower class and those children he is feeding with food stamps will be his next generation of lower class.  Hey America,  Shameful

La_Randy
La_Randy

"those children he is feeding with food stamps will be his next generation of lower class"

Better to let those children go to bed hungry and become pot bellied and impoverished, that will surely make them better citizens, who love their country.

Palladia
Palladia

Please explain how being on food stamps could be "where Obama wants them."

It's simply a nonsensical statement.  Food stamps are a tide-over, a helping hand.  Nobody would want to have others permanently in that situation: it's simply silly to say so.

The entire position that the Democratic party is putting forth is that with effort, with determination, people can get out of that position and into the solid, upwardly-mobile middle class. 

To say anything else is contrary to reason.  To think that someone like Romney, born to wealth, very wealthy himself, has any idea what bootstrapping oneself and one's family is like is fantasy. 

Palladia
Palladia

Chrystal, satin is such a lovely fabric.  What do you have against it?

chrystal026
chrystal026

Democrats Voters are Welfare dependant,baby killers,lawbreakers,all who serve SATAN!!!!!!!!Don"t be Left Behind!!!!

filmnoia
filmnoia

I think you are being punked. Mary Riddell is a fraud and a liar.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

If you'd just ask Momney to dip into his offshore bank accounts....

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Ritt made enough $ that I didn't have to contribute.

But since YOU were the one trying to keep people off food stamps....