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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/21/19

Julia'n Castro: Gordon Sondland's Testimony Is "Nail in the Coffin" of Trump's Defense

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Look, I'm just a player in the game on this one. And I am delighted to be in South Carolina. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you so much.

MUSTAFA ALI: Thank you, Senator.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Elizabeth Warren's comment. And, of course, candidates do not want to disparage states or talk about changing order when this is the key states. A number of candidates drop out after these first two primaries and caucuses. And in the lead-up, the longest lead-up in history of a presidential pre-primary season, these candidates and I'm sure including you, Secretary Castro, go endlessly to these two states, going to so many different areas, addressing their concerns. Can you talk about whether you see this as a major problem?

JULIÁN CASTRO: Yeah. And, you know, I've been there, to New Hampshire and Iowa, a number of different times, on many occasions now, as you can imagine. We're pretty deep into the presidential primary I mean, primary campaign cycle. And the people are wonderful. I've said I've been pleased with the way that we've been received. Everybody has been very nice.

But, Amy, you're correct in the concerns that you raised in, you know, that forum, which is that these two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, simply do not reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party or of the United States. And Iowa has been the first to vote since 1972. And our country has changed a lot, our party has changed a lot since 1972.

Further, the Democratic Party, justifiably, has pressed the case against Republicans for trying to suppress the votes of people of color in different ways, whether voter ID or gerrymandering or throwing people off the rolls or closing early voting polls on Sundays, when there's a greater proportion of African Americans that go to vote, in Souls to the Polls drives across the country. So, we should do that. But we can't just do that and then turn around and start our primary process, our nominating process for president, in two states that hardly have any black people, hardly have any people of color, that does not reflect the values that we say we espouse. And my point has been, I understand the tradition, but, look, it's a different day and age, and we need to have the DNC change that primary ordering process and give other states an opportunity to go first.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Secretary Castro, I want to ask you about the discrepancy in funding between white and other candidates who are running for the nomination. Earlier this month, Axios ran a piece titled "The racial wealth gap among 2020 Democrats." It revealed, quote, "The leading white candidates in the Democratic presidential primary combined have nearly four times as much cash on hand as all five non-white candidates." Secretary Castro?

JULIÁN CASTRO: Well, I mean, I think that's a function of the fact that right now these candidates are the leading candidates. And, you know, these two things go together, right? They're raising more money now because they're near the top of the polls. They're near the top of the polls because, in part, they've been able to raise more money.

I think that, you know, one of the biggest challenges of the 2020 cycle for some of us who are running is that right now, for a decent percentage of the voters and certainly there's a media, mainstream media, narrative that's been created, and this mainstream media narrative is that it's going to take a certain type of candidate that can appeal specifically to a white Midwestern voter, that that's what's going to beat Donald Trump. And because of that, I think that folks are gravitating toward certain types of candidates.

My point all along has been that if we want to win this election, we actually have to electrify that Obama coalition, a diverse coalition of people of different backgrounds, working-class people, young and old, from every part of the country. That's how we're going to win, not we're not going to win if we believe that we only have to or we can just appeal to one certain type of voter in one part of the country. If we do that, we're actually risking giving the election back to Donald Trump, because if our candidate, if our nominee can't appeal to a whole cross-section of voters, yeah, you may increase your take, your share of voters in one part of the country, of one profile, but, you know, you're going to lose a lot of people in other places, and you're going to lose the election.

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up, Julian Castro, do you think the primary order should change? Is there any reason that this should continue as it is? We interviewed the head of the Democratic Party in Texas, Gilberto Hinojosa, and he said he can't get the candidates down for forums in Texas, a major state in the United States, far larger than the first two primary states, and, of course, a majority-minority state. But they're too busy in Iowa and New Hampshire.

JULIÁN CASTRO: Oh, of course that order should change. And I've made that point very clearly and bluntly. And you know what? I believe that there are a lot of people in Iowa and New Hampshire that appreciate a candidate telling the truth. And I would say to them, "Look, I just told you the truth about what we need to do." And I was in Iowa when I did it. I'll tell you the truth now, and if I'm elected president, I'm going to tell you the truth when I'm president. And we need to change the order of those states to reflect the diversity of our country and of the Democratic Party.

AMY GOODMAN: Julian Castro, I want to thank you for being with us, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017. Are you staying in the race?

JULIÁN CASTRO: I am. I'm working and fighting through Iowa. And all throughout this campaign, we've been speaking up for the most marginalized, people that are often forgotten, the poor. And I'm going to keep doing that.

AMY GOODMAN: Thanks so much. When we come back, we will be joined by a round-table of people to talk about what was raised and wasn't raised in last night's fifth Democratic presidential primary debate. It was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Stay with us.

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