The Campaign Spot

Julian Castro’s Star Continues to Rise, Sans Accomplishments

Politico notes that by the end of October, Joaquin and Julian Castro — one twin brother a first-term congressman, and the other the mayor of San Antonio — will have appeared at major functions in at least 11 states outside their native Texas, and also on the sets of prominent national TV programs like NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week.

As usual, the attention and focus is more on who they are than on anything they’ve actually done in their elected offices:

In the process, they have filled a void within their party, which despite fashioning itself as the home for a younger and more diverse America, has elevated few politicians during the Age of Obama who actually look like that emerging electorate . . . 

For a pair of junior Democrats who were relatively unknown at this time last year, it is an astonishingly ambitious itinerary — and a vivid illustration of how quickly a politician can advance in the present day when his biography and message line up with the political moment.

“The city I come from and the state I come from really represent the face of America in the coming decade,” said Joaquin Castro, who invokes his family’s story and the need for “an infrastructure of opportunity” in America as he tours the country.

Julian Castro put it even more plainly, suggesting that voters “see the future, oftentimes, in folks who are new to them and relatively young.”

The article goes on to speculate that either brother could be a running mate for Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden in 2016.

Last year I looked at Castro’s then three years as mayor of San Antonio and saw little to brag about in the areas of crime or education: “Castro was elected by a populace facing serious problems, and in his time in office, the city has made very little measurable progress in addressing those problems.” But apparently that doesn’t matter.

Politico’s profile hits at least three of my six rules for a Julian Castro profile, offered last year: It emphasizes his/their youth, emphasizes the political importance of the Hispanic demographic, and soft-pedals the radical politics of his/their mother. Perhaps the stories of Obama’s mistaking Julian Castro for an intern and the mayor’s taunting of Charles Barkley have run their course as colorful anecdotes.

Chuck Kerr, an artist at Current, emphasized Julian Castro’s seemingly pre-ordained role in national Democratic politics:

He invited Campaign Spot readers to build their own Castro campaign posters, proudly endorsing the mayor for president, governor, senator, mayor, Jedi Master, or Top Chef contestant.


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