Image credit: Wilfredo Lee | AP
After announcing that he would be suspending his bid to become the Democratic nominee for President, Julian Castro has taken the decision to endorse one of the front-runners, Elizabeth Warren.
One could argue that this is a brilliant political move from Castro, whose progressive message failed to take off.
Castro announced his exit from the primary race at the end of last week, having failed to garner any significant support for his campaign, which aimed to shift the Overton window with regards to immigration policy. And despite his generally progressive approach towards both policy and rhetoric, Castro fell behind more recognizable candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Warren herself, forcing him to withdraw.
Yet, in what could be a very smart move on his behalf, Barrack Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has now officially endorsed the Massachusetts senator. He may find himself with a position on a future Warren cabinet or could even be named as her running mate and VP in Warren’s potential run for the general election – should she win the Democratic nomination.
Castro will best be remembered for his criticism of two of the apparent front runners, former Vice-President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who have run on more centrist messaging and are neck-and-neck in the polling with Senators Warren and Sanders.
To close observers of the primaries, it is hardly a surprising development as Castro and Warren have not hidden their affection for one another. This could also boost Warren’s popularity, especially with regards to immigration policy, among voters after she fell from her ascendancy to become the top polling candidate in October last year. She’s now polling in third position behind Biden and Sanders, having rolled back on some of her progressive policies, such as withdrawing her support for Medicare for All in favour of a less radical approach.
Of course it remains speculative for now and there’s no telling how much political weight Mr. Castro holds or whether Warren is interested in bringing him along on the campaign trail, but Warren did respond positively to Castro’s endorsement, calling him “a powerful voice for bold, progressive change”.
So far, this would be the closest thing to a political allegiance among candidates in the race for the nomination. And it will be interesting to see whether it will kick-start similar endorsements and potential declarations of fealty among the other remaining candidates.