STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

An immensely frustrating time for Julián Castro

Julián Castro has announced on Twitter that he has ended his 2020 presidential campaign. CNN's MJ Lee has more.

Posted: Jan 2, 2020 12:57 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2020 2:15 PM


Another Democratic presidential hopeful has exited the 2020 race. On Thursday, Julián Castro announced via a video message that he was suspending his campaign.

'I've determined that it simply isn't our time,' he said, adding that he was dropping out with 'a heavy heart, and profound gratitude.' While he did not go into specifics about his future plans, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development stated that he was not done fighting. 'I'll keep working towards a nation where everyone counts, a nation where everyone can get a good job, good health care and a decent place to live.'

While Castro's announcement was not unexpected, it was disappointing. He was in some respects, with his inclusive message, the antithesis of President Donald Trump. He brought an important perspective to the debates. And he showed that a qualified Latino -- specifically, a third-generation Mexican-American -- could compete at the highest level of politics. Coming soon after Kamala Harris dropped out, Castro's decision further reduces the much-needed diversity of the Democratic field. That's a loss to the Democratic Party as well as to Latinos and all Americans.

In theory, Castro seemed like an ideal candidate -- and perhaps would have been, in a different election cycle. Aside from his Hispanic roots -- vitally important at a time where Latinos are projected to be the country's largest group of nonwhite voters -- he holds Ivy League degrees and was the former mayor of San Antonio. He served in the Obama Cabinet. He was telegenic, and unafraid to raise challenging questions on the national stage. In the June debate, for example, he came out in support of decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings as a way of ensuring that family separations never occurred again.

But Castro was not a single-issue candidate focused on immigration. To his great credit, he consistently spoke up for the rights of marginalized communities, from the homeless to transgender people. He reminded viewers in the October debate that 'Police violence is also gun violence,' before mentioning the names of African American and Latino victims of police shootings. He was an important voice for the concerns of communities of color at a time when many Latinos and minorities feel targeted by bigoted rhetoric and violence.

Throughout his campaign Castro was an underdog. Despite his credentials and experience, he never received the adulatory press coverage of Beto O'Rourke or Pete Buttigieg. Unlike Joe Biden, he seemed to get little credit for his tenure in the Obama administration. Though he favored a single-payer health care plan (like Bernie Sanders) and did not take PAC money (like Elizabeth Warren), he was often overlooked by the mainstream media on issues besides immigration, especially those that typically appeal to progressive voters. When Castro did merit coverage, journalists often focused on the irrelevant fact that he spoke less-than-fluent Spanish.

Nonetheless, Castro showed America that a progressive Latino can compete at the highest level of politics and hold his own. For Latinos, he was living proof that a Hispanic deserved positive national attention. And unlike former presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Castro was -- like the majority of US Latinos -- Mexican American, and very proud of his humble origins.

It must have been immensely frustrating for Castro and his supporters that he was never able to break into the top tier of Democratic candidates; he rarely registered in national polls. This may be because of the nature of our political process, which is driven by money and media coverage. Consider that Castro and Harris are out of the race while Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer are still in. It remains a fact that without money and coverage, it is hard to break through in the polls, no matter how strong your ground game or grass-roots support. In addition, Castro himself has questioned the wisdom of according states like Iowa and New Hampshire such disproportionate influence in the nominating process, as they are hardly representative of the national electorate.

'The media's flawed formula for 'electability' has pushed aside women and candidates of color,' Castro said on Twitter when Kamala Harris left the 2020 race in December. 'Our party's diversity is our strength.'

He was correct, and those same words can be applied to his run at the nomination. If voters were not ready to embrace Castro, there is no doubt that he was ready and qualified to lead -- and that he will be missed.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather