It was roughly eight years ago that America was introduced to the Demcratic party’s then rising star Barack Obama, when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention for Kerry’s nomination. There are certainly other ways for state politians to become noticed by the American people (think: Arizona’s batshit state policies, for instance), but delivering the keynote address at a political convention is a chance for both a politician and a party to make a statement.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro will deliver the keynote address at the at the DNC this September, and in doing so will become the first Latino ever to be chosen for the prestigious slot at the convention.
Does this mean the Democrats are positioning Castro for 2016 when Obama leaves office? Possibly. Although it seems far more likely that Castro’s keynote address is aimed squarely at attracting Latino voters to the Democratic cause. It is, at least in part, a perfect case of political opportunism.
But what of the 37-year old Castro himself?
Castro, raised in a working class neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, is the son of Mexican-American political activist Rosie Castro. He graduated with an undergraduate degree from Stanford University before heading to Harvard Law School. His twin brother Joaquín, who is running for Congress, also studied at Harvard Law School. It seems that the Democrats are getting a two-for-one special here with the brothers Castro. In 2009, Castro was elected San Antonio mayor and reelected in 2011, winning nearly 83 percent of the vote, an impressive margin by any stretch of the imagination.
And what does Castro think of the honor of being keynote speaker? “Being the keynote speaker at the convention this year is an honor I don’t take lightly,” Castro said. “I know I’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
The worry amongst many Democratic voters and others on the Left is that, although Obama has been quite moderate (even as conservative in ways as President Reagan), a gaping hole will be left in the party’s future presidential hopes—a hole that could be easily filled by the insanity of right wing reactionaries. With Castro, there might just be some more “hope” and perhaps, too, a bit more fight in him than Obama.
Watch Castro’s video announcement of the keynote address acceptance below. He certainly has charisma.