Trump's nightmare: A Latino taking his job

It may be Donald Trump's nightmare: a Latino is trying to take his job.Some may consider Julián Cast...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 9:44 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 9:44 PM

It may be Donald Trump's nightmare: a Latino is trying to take his job.

Some may consider Julián Castro, who announced his 2020 presidential bid before a cheering crowd Saturday, a long shot. They could not be more wrong. Julián Castro is a hugely important candidate in the Trump era. For Mexican-Americans and other Latinos, Castro is — quite simply — a role model. For non-Hispanics, he is a visible symbol of Latino achievement.

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Most crucially, as a candidate, Castro is a living repudiation of the negative rhetoric that President Trump often puts forth about Latinos, who represent a surging demographic that made up about 13% of the electorate in the midterms.

Castro understands all this. Here is how he put it when he announced in San Antonio last weekend: "When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for president of the United States of America," the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development said.

The grandson of a Mexican immigrant and the son of a community activist, Castro attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School. In 2001, he was the youngest person on the San Antonio City Council. In 2009, he was elected mayor of San Antonio. At 39, he was the youngest person in Barack Obama's Cabinet. In short, he's young, accomplished, and Latino -- all factors that could matter as he pitches himself to voters.

Castro's emergence onto the political scene is also a watershed moment for Latinos, because they have not had a national political leader since the heyday of Cesar Chavez. A 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center asked Latinos who was the most important Hispanic leader in the country. The top two answers were "Don't know" (62%) and "No one" (9%). Meanwhile, three-fourths of Hispanics say their community needs a leader. Castro has a chance to fill that role, at the very highest reaches of the US government, and to serve as an inspiration to young Hispanic Americans.

And his candidacy comes at a particularly fraught time for Hispanic-Americans and immigrants. Indeed, to hear the President tell it (when he was running for President), Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." The President has done his best to conflate Latinos with MS-13 gang members and "illegals." On top of that, Latinos are often portrayed in the media with negative stereotypes. A Latino presidential candidate who is educated, assimilated and successful will remind Americans that Latinos are good citizens with solid values.

Castro says he plans to focus on issues like education, health care and climate change. Such topics may be boilerplate among progressives, yet they carry extra resonance coming from a Latino. Too often, Latino politicians are only afforded a national audience to talk about topics like immigration or the border. How refreshing it will be to hear Castro discuss his plans for a "Green New Deal," and universal pre-K.

While immigration is no doubt important to Castro, a Texas native, the public needs to see that Latinos are not single-issue voters.

Castro is not the first Hispanic to seek the Democratic nomination for president; former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson ran in 2008, and West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda has thrown his hat into the ring for 2020 as well. But Castro has the potential to go further, as the Democratic Party — particularly in this moment -- is increasingly welcoming to diverse candidates.

And it doesn't hurt that Castro is more than three decades younger than Democratic front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Because he is not a household name, Castro will have a steep climb to win the nomination. According to the FiveThirtyEight blog, his path to victory lies in appealing to Latinos, millennials, and Democratic Party loyalists. As such, he can potentially attract Latino support in a way that past Latino presidential contenders like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Florida, could not.

In the 2018 midterms, Latinos favored Democrats over Republicans by a more than two-to-one margin, with 62% of Latinos saying they identify with or lean Democratic, compared with 27% who affiliated with the GOP. Changes in the Democratic primary schedule, with primaries for California and Texas moved up on the calendar, could also benefit Castro, as these two states are home to the largest number of eligible Latino voters.

Castro is now in the political big leagues. He has a unique opportunity to represent himself and his community to the millions of Americans who will be closely following the race for the White House. Win or lose, Castro's candidacy is a step forward for him, for Latinos, and for all Americans.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds95924
Lauderdale71358
Madison69422
Scott63010
Neshoba58937
Jones56622
Forrest52338
DeSoto5036
Leake40012
Rankin3856
Holmes38524
Jackson30313
Copiah2904
Attala28415
Newton2564
Monroe25225
Leflore25130
Lincoln25024
Harrison2477
Lamar2315
Yazoo2274
Pearl River20631
Pike20311
Adams19015
Lowndes1899
Noxubee1736
Washington1667
Warren1597
Bolivar15411
Wayne1540
Oktibbeha15411
Jasper1524
Smith14511
Covington1431
Clarke13818
Kemper13611
Chickasaw13012
Lafayette1274
Lee1245
Carroll11511
Coahoma1144
Marion1149
Clay1084
Winston1051
Lawrence1021
Simpson950
Hancock8711
Wilkinson859
Yalobusha855
Grenada853
Itawamba847
Montgomery811
Union805
Sunflower783
Jefferson Davis772
Marshall773
Tate741
Tippah7111
Claiborne692
Panola643
Calhoun634
Webster611
Humphreys587
Amite561
Tunica533
Walthall520
Perry503
Prentiss423
Jefferson400
Choctaw342
Stone300
Pontotoc293
Tishomingo280
Franklin282
Tallahatchie261
Quitman250
George211
Benton150
Alcorn141
Greene91
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16530

Reported Deaths: 591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2124112
Jefferson1712100
Montgomery154134
Tuscaloosa67813
Marshall6689
Lee53332
Franklin5147
Shelby48419
Tallapoosa41864
Butler39213
Chambers34924
Madison3184
Elmore3137
Walker2991
Baldwin2819
Etowah24411
Dallas2443
DeKalb2413
Morgan2311
Coffee2241
Lowndes22210
Sumter2136
Autauga2053
Houston1884
Bullock1833
Pike1790
Colbert1612
Russell1590
Marengo1556
Lauderdale1532
Calhoun1523
Hale1517
Choctaw1488
Wilcox1347
Barbour1321
Clarke1292
Randolph1257
Marion11911
St. Clair1161
Pickens1014
Talladega1003
Dale990
Chilton971
Cullman960
Greene924
Limestone870
Winston820
Covington771
Jackson752
Crenshaw722
Bibb711
Henry712
Macon712
Washington666
Blount581
Escambia493
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Conecuh351
Coosa351
Monroe352
Perry350
Cherokee342
Clay272
Lamar210
Fayette130
Cleburne131
Unassigned00
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