Hillary Clinton is close to obtaining enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s candidate for president. However, she has failed to capture the female, minority, or youth vote enough to denote her as the outright favorite of what political pundits agree are key voting blocs.
The political realm initially expected Hillary Clinton to appeal naturally to one-third of the key voting blocs, women, simply because she is a female candidate. Unfortunately for the Clinton campaign, her gender identification has not been enough, as presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), a self-proclaimed socialist, has won over the hearts and minds of many women in ways Clinton’s platform has failed to do.
In addition to losing some of the female voting bloc’s support, Clinton also has struggled with the minority and youth coalitions, as both groups have flocked to Sanders’ side. Without the support of all three of these contingents, precedent suggests that the White House might be unattainable.
Various institutions like the Pew Research Center, The New York Times, and POLITICO agree: the previously overlooked senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, would not have triumphed over John McCain in 2008 without the support of these crucial voting blocs. This election cycle has so far proven no different, with the female, minority, and youth vote spearheading campaign efforts, and becoming a focal point of candidates’ platforms.
If Clinton wants to win the general election, she will need to reorganize her campaign in a manner that would rally these blocs behind her. Yet, Clinton may be way ahead of the curve with a trick hidden in her pocket – a potent choice of running mate.
Historically, presidential candidates tend to be strategic when choosing a running mate, often balancing their own natural advantages with those of another individual. For instance, typically, a Northerner would select a Southerner, just as an intense right-wing conservative would opt for a more moderate VP. These counterbalances would rally multiple groups in various states and, in theory, would increase the chance of winning the popular vote.
Hillary Clinton is no exception. A native Chicagoan and 68-year-old moderate, Clinton has a few options when the time arrives to select her running mate. The media has thrown many names around, from fierce liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, but one figure has received more attention and approval than the others, combined.
Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, beloved by many locals, could be Hillary Clinton’s solution to her current lack of approval from crucial voting blocs, and her key to the White House.
Selecting Castro, a 41-year-old Hispanic politician with less political experience than Clinton, could mean the revival of her campaign’s appeal to voters who haven’t already jumped on the “Ready for Hillary” bandwagon.
If elected, the pair would represent the first woman to hold the office of president of the United States, and the first Hispanic U.S. vice president. The mere “buzz” about the possibility has already piqued the interest of San Antonians, as many have previously experienced Castro’s governance when he served as mayor.
“Asking how special it would be for Julián to be a vice presidential candidate is like asking how special it would be for the Spurs to win the championship for the first time,” said state Rep. Diego Bernal (D-123). “The city would feel a tremendous sense of pride, as it’d be an example of the kind of talent we have here.”
Castro first took office in 2001 as the youngest city council member, at the time, in San Antonio history at 26 years old, before becoming the city’s mayor in 2009. A champion of education most famous for his Pre-K 4 SA initiative, which has made early childhood education accessible for low-income students, Castro truly improved the state of affairs in San Antonio during his time in local politics.
Castro can give Hillary Clinton’s campaign what it has been missing, but not in ways that might seem obvious to voters. Castro’s ethnicity and age in and of themselves will not be enough to win over minority and youth voters; not only has the essence of this assumption been invalidated with Clinton’s lack of female support, but the concept itself is preposterous.
Instead, Castro provides experience in the smaller-scale implementation of successful legislation and a clean political record, both of which could curb the mudslinging that has marred Clinton’s image and pushed the coveted voting bloc away from Clinton’s reservoir of support.
Unlike Clinton, whose name in recent months has been blemished by the words Benghazi and e-mail, Julián Castro would bring his impeccable political record and knack for avoiding wrongdoing to the Clinton camp, which could encourage women, minorities, and young voters, who’ve cited Clinton’s dishonesty as sufficient reason to support other candidates. This could give her campaign a second chance.
Furthermore, Castro’s experience in local politics makes him the perfect counterbalance to Clinton’s national profile. Castro has only recently begun to fortify his name in the national spotlight as HUD Secretary, with the wealth of his experience coming from running the Alamo City itself, a feat that makes his presence on any campaign uniquely valuable.
“Very few of the people who are running (for office) have ever had to make things happen in the real world. They can talk, vote, pass bills, but Julian has had to execute the plans, and he knows what it looks like. He’s a doer,” Bernal said.
As a member of a political dynasty, citizens frequently assign Hillary Clinton the label of a typical establishment politician who relies on reports, briefs, and advisers in order to understand the desires of her constituents. While every politician needs this kind of support to effectively run their respective jurisdictions, Clinton’s use of these resources does not bode well with key voters.
Luckily for Clinton, Castro’s presence alleviates the toxic “establishment” label plastered onto the Clinton campaign, giving her the power to appeal those who haven’t been convinced of her presidential potential. “He’s the bridge between grassroots and treetops,” said Bernal, nodding to the missing elements of the Clinton campaign.
Castro’s can-do attitude and understanding of not just legislation, but also implementation, makes him an undeniable vice presidential candidate that could help her campaign to unprecedented heights, especially in an election where voters have shifted to support anti-establishment candidates.
Whether you support her or not, Hillary Clinton is still on track to be the Democratic presidential nominee, making it imperative that voters also weigh her vice presidential possibilities to begin envisioning the pair that could conceivably lead our country for the next four years.
The country has never needed this dynamic duo more than it does now. With a Clinton-Castro ticket, preventing Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and whomever he selects as his VP, from snatching the Oval Office will become a piece of presidential cake.
Top image:U.S. Secretery of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro applauds as Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd during a campaign event in San Antonio on Oct. 15, 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.