Julian Castro is quietly forging a path that could put him in the White House in 2016.
The second-term Democratic mayor of San Antonio made his debut in the national spotlight this year when he became the first Hispanic to give the keynote address at the party's national convention. Since then, a confluence of good moves and good timing is positioning Castro to be as big a political surprise in 2016 as Obama was in 2008.
One of Castro's recent good moves came soon after Obama won re-election. The Mexican-American mayor, 37, who along with his identical twin brother, Joaquin, was raised by a single mother, signed a deal to write his autobiography. In 1995, Obama's self-authored memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, allowed him to largely define himself well before his first Senate campaign in 2004.
Heads Delegation Overseas
Castro's next good move came when he led a delegation of Texas corporate executives to Great Britain. The San Antonio Express-News billed the trip as a "trade mission focused on energy and information technology." For Castro, it was also an astute formal entry onto the world stage.
In his keynote address at the London School of Economics and Political Science -- an impressive rsum stuffer for a would-be presidential candidate -- Castro showed himself to be a far better schmoozer of America's closest ally than Romney. The mayor opened his speech by thanking "Londoners for doing a great job this past summer with the Olympics. It was fantastic to watch a city pull off the Olympics the way that London did."
Before the Summer Games, Romney had called London's preparation "disconcerting."
'On Our Radar'
Castro pulled off another good move by landing meetings with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer. That's a pretty impressive itinerary for the mayor of America's seventh largest city. "You have done some great things. You are on our radar," Osborne told Castro, according to the Express-News.
So far, the early betting among pundits is that the lineup of Democratic and Republican presidential wannabes will be drawn largely from the fading political culture that produced the 43 men who preceded the election of Obama, this nation's first black president.
With the exception of such possible candidates as Democratic Hillary Clinton, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a Cuban American, and Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., an Indian American, that list is made up of white men who lack the ability to win the backing of the multiracial, multiethnic, female-anchored coalition that twice lifted Obama into the White House.
And this is where the issue of timing comes in. With Castro at the head of their ticket in 2016, Democrats might have the best chance of holding together that coalition. They also could dramatically alter the nation's political map by winning Texas, a state where blacks and Hispanics make up a majority of the population.
That kind of political sea change would almost guarantee Democrats continued control of the White House after Obama leaves office.
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