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Julian 2016?

I have five things to say about this.

Mayor Julian Castro

Texas Democratic powerbrokers are quietly promoting rising star Julian Castro as a consensus building leader with bipartisan support as they position the charismatic San Antonio mayor for the party’s 2016 presidential ticket.

In Julian Castro, who vaulted into the American spotlight at the Democratic National Convention last September, Democrats believe they have what one party leader called “the next Obama” who could be vital to retaining the White House.

The 38-year-old mayor would give Democrats the inside track to the ever-increasing Latino vote, which is expected to be even more pivotal in 2016 than it has ever been.

But Castro’s political Achilles heel is that his home state has been solidly red for a generation and that, even with Texas’s large Hispanic vote, Democrats have not won a statewide race in almost two decades.

Top Democratic leaders, though, believe that Castro would give the party a unique opportunity to capture the state’s 38 electoral votes in 2016, given his pull among Latinos as well as by positioning him as a consensus builder along the lines of Texas legend Lyndon Johnson.

The Texas electoral votes together with the 55 of solidly blue state California could potentially give a Democratic nominee 93 electoral votes, more than a third of the 270 needed for election.

Some Texas Democrats who are preparing behind-the-scenes to soon begin working on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign are even wishfully talking about a Hillary-Julian dream ticket.

1. I have absolutely no idea who these “powerbrokers” and “top leaders” are. Hell, I can barely say those things with a straight face. The article quotes absolutely no one, not even anonymously or on background, so one is tempted to imagine that this is all shorthand for “a couple of consultants and/or staffers I was drinking with”. Seriously, I got nothing. But feel free to speculate about their identities in the comments.

2. With President Obama having gone from state senator to President in just over four years, I hesitate to say anything is impossible. But I will note that Obama won an election for US Senate in between, so he had some exposure on the national stage that went beyond a keynote speech and someone else’s Presidential campaign. I can see Julian Castro being an attractive choice as running mate in 2016, though his lack of experience above the municipal level would surely be seen as a liability among the Very Serious types. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I have a hard time seeing how a path to the White House for Castro doesn’t include a successful run for Governor or Senator first. Go on, tell me that a Castro win over Rick Perry or Greg Abbott (or hell, George P. Bush) in 2014 would not catapult him onto the short list for 2016.

3. Whether or not Julian Castro is on the ticket in 2016, the way to put Texas’ electoral votes up for grabs is to spend the money and invest the time and people-power in a massive registration and turnout operation. Perhaps what those powerbrokers and leaders are hoping for is that a Castro candidacy would force that to happen, and would finally bring some national campaign dollars here instead of us being a cookie jar for everyone else to reach into. Not a bad thing to hope for, but last I checked hope was still not a plan. Oh, and as long as we’re dreaming, it sure would be nice to give that operation a test drive in 2014, don’t you think?

4. Given that Presidents tend to get re-elected, if Castro isn’t on the ticket in 2016, it’s likely that 2024 will be his next best chance. Being elected VP in 2016 is a good strategy for being the Presidential nominee in 2024, but if that fails to come about, it would be nice to have a Plan B. See item #2 above for my suggestion. Serve two terms as Governor beginning in 2014 and you’d be pretty well positioned for 2024. I’m just saying.

5. All that said, Hillary/Julian, or Clinton/Castro, sure does have a nice ring to it.

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  1. Charles, I can’t argue with any of that. I don’t see Castro being ready for the top of the ticket for a while, but wouldn’t it be sweet to see the name ‘Castro’ up there. Ha! As funny as having a guy with ‘Hussein’ in his name. To see him whip Perry or a Bush next year would be the finest kind. The bum who kept kids off Medicaid and closed their mother’s clinics running against a man who got his city to vote and pay for pre-k. Priceless. As for party building; I like Juanita’s plan to steal from the evil Rove’s book and put some feel-good lefty props on the ballot, if only in the primary. Marriage equality and medical marijuana perhaps? Could we get our side to flood the polls for a change?

  2. RBearSAT says:

    I’ve already posted my thoughts on Castro’s future at Plaza de Armas and don’t seen anything beyond governor or US Senator in 2018. Some have rumored governor for 2014 but it would be a test run, at best. TX will not be blue enough for a Democrat to win the top statewide office in 2014 and Cornyn will be too strong to take on.

    I almost roll over reading those who target Castro for president in 2016. Personally, I think even he chuckles at the idea. The biggest test is that no person has EVER won the presidency without either having served as VP, governor or US senator since FDR. The American public needs some strong indication of leadership to give them confidence in the person.

    I do think your suggestion of a possible running mate makes sense and we shall see. That’s 3 years from now.