America’s newest political rock star dismissed “what ifs” during a visit to the London School of Economics on Monday.
“I’m never going to be the president or the vice-president,” Julian Castro told a largely fawning audience.
Few in the crowd seemed inclined to believe him. To judge by his delivery, he does not believe it himself.
The San Antonio mayor spoke about U.S. leadership in the 21st century — a prophetic subject for someone who has been touted as next Texas governor, U.S. Senator or the first Latino democratic presidential candidate.
Castro spoke candidly about potential Latino Republican rivals. “Of course it will help (Republicans) to have Marco Rubio: he relates well to the Latino experience and he has a bright future and I wish him well.” But Castro stressed it will take more than a face to win the Latino vote. “If Marco Rubio were running against Jeb Bush, Jeb Bush would win.”
If Castro ends up throwing his hat in the Texas governor or senator’s race, he could face Jeb Bush’s son, George P. Bush, (grandson of George Bush Sr., nephew of George W). The younger Bush, whose mother is Mexican, recently filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission, a stepping stone to seeking state office.
The Latino vote represents 12 per cent of the U.S. electorate. (President Obama won an overwhelming 71 per cent of that vote.) After losses in the last presidential, senatorial and house elections, Castro says Republicans must change their tone on immigration, healthcare and other issues sensitive to Latino voters. He says he’s convinced the growth of the Hispanic community will eventually turn Texas, one of the reddest of the red states, into a Democrat state.
Castro earned a starring role at this year’s Democratic convention by harnessing the power of that voting block. He recently secured a book deal to tell his family’s success story. It’s an inspiring narrative: his grandmother was a maid and cook, and his single mother put he and his twin brother through Stanford and Harvard. It’s a story similar to another racial ceiling breaker, President Barak Obama.
Castro passed his first test on the international stage, avoiding the Olympic pitfall Mitt Romney fell into when he criticized the security preparations for the London Games. In fact, the ever-smiling politician gave a nod to Romney’s visit as he opened with a bow to the organizers of the London Games for “doing a great job.”