Tanzina Vega: Hey, everyone. I'm Tanzina Vega with you here on The Takeaway, during what is now election week with so many questions still before us. We are joined now by Julián Castro, who we had on the show earlier this summer, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas and the former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Secretary Castro, thanks for being with me again.
Julián Castro: Great to be with you, Tanzina.
Tanzina: Secretary Castro, many years have gone by where we have attempted to see whether or not Texas can turn blue. It did not. How do you feel about that?
Julián: Obviously disappointed because poll after poll, and we're talking about not just one poll, but 12 to 15 of them toward the end of the race, showed the race as a dead heat. The result that we have, I think the last thing I saw last night was with 94% reporting or so that, Vice President Biden was about six points behind. That's disappointing, but then you take a step back and you look at the last few years.
Eight years ago, Barack Obama lost the state, even though he overwhelmingly won reelection in 2012, he lost the state by 16 points, and then Hillary Clinton lost it four years ago by nine points. If it ends up being about a six-point loss, we're still making progress here in Texas. I mean, all of the demographic changes that people have talked about, written about are having an impact. I do think that you saw some suburban flight from the Republicans, but it just wasn't enough.
Tanzina: What about the investment that was made by the Biden campaign in Texas, because what we saw this year, in particular, was just a lot of money flowing into Democratic candidates given the backdrop of the current situation in the United States with COVID-19 and the economic collapse that we're experiencing. Did the Biden campaign invest enough in Texas or was it too little too late?
Julián: Well, look, as a Texan who has watched investment be made in other states for a long time and truly has felt that we had an opportunity here in Texas, of course, I would have wanted more investment, but I understood what the priorities were. We're seeing that play out now because Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania are the path for the Vice President at the moment, along with his win in Arizona and Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District.
It's clear that there's an opportunity in Texas, that you have a strong trajectory in the right direction. There are 22 media markets here in the state and I think that that has a tendency to give candidates pause and campaigns pause, but there's a real opportunity here going forward. Clearly, the gains that were made in 2016, 2018, and even the breakdown of the vote last night in certain areas is encouraging.
In other areas, I think Amy mentioned or you mentioned, the Rio Grande Valley. Some of it, head-scratching, and there's going to have to be a deep dive on what happened in South Texas, because Hispanics continue to be a fast-growing part of this electorate. In fact in 2021, just at a population level, the Latino community is going to become the largest population in Texas and you certainly, when you think about getting the electoral votes in the state, you want to make sure that Democrats get stronger with the Hispanic community and not weaker, especially in areas like the Rio Grande Valley. There's work to do there.
Tanzina: One of the other things that's come up in terms of the broader national picture, Secretary Castro, is that with everything that has occurred since 2016 in the country, the economic collapse, 8 million Americans have been pushed into poverty, more than 230,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. Those numbers are spiking in cities across the country to this day. How is it that not only that the President Trump retains the levels of support that he seems to have had back in 2016 among his base, but also that the Democratic party, has ensured up even more support at this time?
Julián: Look, I would say probably when this is said and done that Vice President Biden is going to have a larger popular vote win than Hillary Clinton did four years ago and will have an electoral college victory that is substantial as well. I think we're caught in a moment right now where it seems like Trump over-performed which he did in some places, but at the end of the day, this is still going to be a rejection, I believe, of Donald Trump and a loss. That is going to color how we think about it going forward as well.
There's no question that in some ways, as a politician he has been a phenomenon and has appealed to people at some level personality-wise, this idea of being an outsider or whatever it is. There's clearly something there for a lot of people. I think most importantly it seems like enough loaders have recognized that we need a change including it looks like in these states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Tanzina: We've been talking also on the show about Latino leadership. Your brother Joaquin Castro won re-election to the US House in Texas his 20th Congressional District. What are folks hoping to see from him?
Julián: He's chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and he'll continue to be outspoken on a number of issues there. Also, he's running for the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair. Has a lot of great experience there. We'll see what happens come January when the new Congress convenes.
Tanzina: Do any of last night's results for you, whether they're local, state, federal, have the potential to bring more Latino leadership to the forth?
Julián: I think what last night's results indicate is that both parties are going to be competing for the Latino vote and it definitely tilts Democratic. We saw that in many of the big counties in Texas and in Arizona at the same time there were some notable results where the Latino vote tilted toward Republicans, in Florida, and in some smaller counties even in Texas. That means that for those Latinas and Latinos out there, that people are looking to you, people are looking to folks to step up and to be new voices.
It's also time, I think, for Latinas and Latinos to be uplifted into leadership whether that's in newsrooms, in Hollywood, in a number of places. Esmeralda Bermudez from the LA Times has made this point that this is a community that is not understood the way that it should be for as large as it is and as significant as it is in politics today. There's ample opportunity or should be for Latino leadership to step up.
Tanzina: I would agree. I think some of the coverage of the community at large has been-- There are many attempts to cover "Latinos" in this country. Some folks do it well and others I think have a ways to go. Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Thanks so much for joining us.
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