At age 16, Julián Castro and his family were stopped by a young mother and her children at a bus stop. After noticing their shirts in support of the city’s first Latina candidate for mayor, the mother asked Castro, “Did we win?” In that moment, he realized that she was not asking about a candidate; she was asking about the future for her and her children.

In a question and answer style webinar hosted by Northwestern College Democrats, former presidential candidate Julián Castro spoke to students through Zoom about his run for president, what to expect in the election next week and what his hopes are for the future of U.S. politics

“That’s how I think about public service,” Castro said. “That’s the hope that I have for what will happen after these last four years, that we are going to feel like we’re a country where everybody can win, and that we are on a track where people are coming together to achieve things.”

When asked about making the decision to enter the race for the Democratic nomination, Castro said: “The reason that I got into politics in the first place was that I wanted to make sure that the kind of opportunities that I had in life were available to other people.”

After briefly discussing his presidential platform, homelessness and his time as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro explained that in 2017, he felt Trump was moving the country in the wrong direction. Today, Castro believes that Biden represents an experienced and familiar alternative.

“I do believe that enough people feel like Trump has just failed,” he said.

As Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court during the webinar, the webinar’s moderator, Weinberg history professor Daniel Immerwahr, asked Castro about the implications of her confirmation.

“Throughout the campaign, I was never a big proponent of expanding the court,” said Castro, speaking to new Democratic proposals to increase the amount of justices and Biden’s plan for a bipartisan committee for court reforms.

“Even if you don’t expand the court (although I think they should consider that), you can look at these other reforms so that what Mitch McConnell did to Barack Obama in blocking his appointment of Merrick Garland doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Immerwahr commented on what he called the “dynamic majority” of the Democratic party, shifting the conversation toward the larger issue of political polarization and momentum moving forward.

Castro believes what makes politicians, both Democratic and Republican, successful in the eyes of the public is delivering on campaign promises. Castro argues that President Trump’s popularity comes from his “strongman personality” and the promises he delivers on.

Northwestern students further engaged with Castro by asking questions about his home state of Texas, where he is hoping Biden will prevail on Election Day, and his favorite places he visited while on the campaign trail, where he showed his affinity for the Mexican food in Iowa.

At the end of the webinar, Immerwahr urged students to learn about their ballots, and Castro encouraged political engagement.

“You and your generation have such an opportunity to help change lives for the better,” he said.

Thumbnail image "Julian Castro"by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0