At CNN’s Thursday night town Hall, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro certainly came across as capable, likable, and ready to be commander-in-chief, as the Democrat answered questions on a broad range of topics before a live audience in Washington DC. The question now is whether primary voters will embrace him in his quest to be the nation’s first Latino president.
Castro is in need of a boost in the polls, as he has not yet broken out of the large pack of Democratic hopefuls, nor met the standards for making it onto the main stage for the upcoming Democratic National Committee debates. He recently polled at just 2% among likely Iowa caucus-goers, a new Monmouth University poll shows. And at the town hall, he may not have achieved a “breakout moment,” though he showed viewers and potential voters that he deserves serious consideration.
Castro is the only Democrat running for president with a detailed immigration plan, and he offered pragmatic ideas for revamping our immigration system. He wants to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings, instead treating them as civil offenses; offer a path to citizenship to “Dreamers” and other undocumented immigrants; and institute a Marshall Plan for Central America to help deter potential asylum-seekers.
To his credit, Castro recognizes the reality of migration patterns, as well as the fact that the United States needs workers. “This country has been blessed by immigrants over the years,” he declared. Good for him, for backing up such sentiments with an actual plan and for noting that the Trump administration’s cruelty towards immigrants “never seems to end.”
Interestingly, while Castro presents himself as the antithesis of President Donald Trump on immigration and other issues, he rarely mentioned the name “Trump” throughout the town hall, instead simply referring to “the President” or “this President.” Indeed, it was wise of Castro to avoid Trump-bashing in favor of outlining his own policies and contrasting those with the administration’s. Such restraint, combined with his youth and occasional flashes of a wide smile, brought to mind Barack Obama, who was once also a relative unknown seeking the country’s highest office.
By Raul Reyes for CNN
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