Potential 2020 Presidential Candidate Speaks at NYU Law

Robert Coventry,, Victor Porcelli
Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro discusses issues in current US administration and the state of American opportunity with NPR Latino USA Anchor Maria Hinojosa in a Brennan Center public conversation on Tuesday. (Photo by Tony Wu)

Julián Castro, a rumored 2020 presidential contender, spoke at NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice on Tuesday night.

Julián Castro was the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, before he served as United States Housing and Urban Development secretary under former President Barack Obama. Castro was in conversation with Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR’s radio program “Latino USA.”  The talk focused on Castro’s recent memoir, “An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream.”

CAS first-year Alan Chen, who attended the talk, thinks Castro will be up against tough odds if he runs in 2020.

“I do not think that he has a chance of winning,” Chen said. “Not only because of the polarized nature of the political discourse, but also because of his lack of recognition in the Democratic party.”

Castro isn’t the only member of his family who has tried to make a change through politics. His mother was a supporter of the Chicano Movement, which pushed for reforms that would help the Mexican-American community. His brother, Joaquin Castro, has represented Texas as a congressman in the House of Representatives since 2013.

“In each of the generations of my family, there was a realization that it wasn’t enough to work for the American dream we had to improve on it,” Castro said. “They were trying to work through the democratic process.”

Hinojosa mentioned how Castro and his brother’s shared political ambition that manifested in a “young rivalry,” although their close relationship suggests it is more of a partnership, with Joaquin quoted in The Atlantic saying, “If he ascends, that helps me too.”

Although the brothers come from a state that went for Trump in the 2016 election, Castro directly addressed the president, calling him out for his attacks against the media and more.

“This president is marching us down a path that will decay this democracy,” Castro said. “He’s called the press ‘the enemy of the people’… not to mention how many people have been purged off the voter rolls. There’s this massive fight to discourage us to participate in this democracy.”

Castro hopes younger generations will fight back against these impediments to democracy.

“My hope is that students understand the importance of being politically active,” Castro said. “NYU has a strong history of doing just that.”

Email Robert Coventry and Victor Porcelli at [email protected]

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