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Last Wednesday, Julian Castro —the Mayor of San Antonio— was overwhelmingly confirmed by the US Senate as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The position will give the 39 year-old Democrat some serious Washington clout as he continues climbing up the rungs of the political ladder. Castro has openly expressed interest in higher office, and many are speculating that he could be Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016 if the former First Lady and Secretary and State indeed decides to run for President.
What everyone else apparently has neglected to mention is that, by accepting this position to serve in President Barack Obama's cabinet for the remaining two and a half years of his term, Castro has totally and unequivocally disenfranchised himself from holding Statewide political office in this State.
Republicans love to link Democrats to the unpopular President, even if no such connection exists. Are you the five-term incumbent County Commissioner in Madisonville? Doesn't matter, your Republican opponent will plaster the airwaves and billboards with slogans blasting you as "Obama's best friend," even if you've never met —or voted for— the man. When it comes to someone like Castro, who will legitimately be indelibly linked, Republicans are figuratively frothing at the mouth thinking of the possibilities.
Furthermore, even when the day comes that Texas turns blue, Obama will not likely be a popular figure. Even in cycles where Democrats prevail Statewide, I cannot imagine a former Cabinet secretary of the Obama administration doing very well. This precludes Castro from running for Governor in 2018, which I had formerly assumed his plan had been all along.
I like Castro, and I would love to vote for him if he were to run for some high office. But unless Clinton has promised him the Vice-Presidency, I cannot imagine my vote going to a successful candidate in the near future.
The border crisis has finally culminated into the event of the century — Gov. Rick Perry and President Barack Obama have agreed to a private meeting, to be held Wednesday when the president visits Austin for a fundraiser. On the agenda will be a discussion for possible solutions to the illegal immigration problem. I could imagine that Perry will take a somewhat aggressive approach and remind the president that he is overstepping his authority by circumventing Congress to create immigration policy, and there will most likely be some mention of the strain on Texas border security personnel as a result of the surge of undocumented immigrants. And I certainly expect that Obama will be adamant about his more lenient position on immigration, especially considering a recent letter signed by some Texas Republicans criticizing current immigration policies, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the editorial board has previously supported. Although there is potential for the two to accomplish nothing in the meeting, if Obama acquiesces just slightly, he could help Texas Democrats in November.
Recently, Obama has displayed a tougher-than-usual stance on immigration, requesting authority from Congress to expedite the deportation process for an influx of child immigrants. Still, immigration remains an issue for Texas Democrats, who will need to convert voters who traditionally vote Republican to win statewide offices. The issue of illegal immigration — and claiming the Obama administration promotes it — has been a key factor of Texas Republican candidates’ platforms. Lieutenant Governor hopeful state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, for example, has certainly benefited from his anti-immigrant rhetoric, and gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Greg Abbott lives to undermine the Obama Administration; if he didn’t sue the administration, what would he do all day? If Obama agrees to Republican-friendly measures that shut off many conduits for citizenship after illegal immigration, it could give the Democratic Party a new image — as far as immigration is concerned — in the eyes of conservative Texans.
Davis is an associate editor.
In the wake of the news of UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa's ultimatum to President William Powers Jr. to resign or risk being fired, we quickly changed the focus of this week's issue.
On the opinion page, we have an op-ed from four student leaders supporting Powers against what they deem to be groundless attacks on his ability to lead the University.
Finally, we have an editorial on former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's recently announced presidency of the Texas Exes.
Brands is editor-in-chief.