Democratic 2020 hopeful Julian Castro said on Wednesday that he thinks voters are gravitating towards the safe choice, or familiar profile of a candidate that they think can beat President Donald Trump. He called on voters to think more broadly.
“I think we should turn that on its head,” the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama said in an interview with PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff. He pointed to Obama’s ability to assemble a diverse, young, working-class coalition of people to turn out to the voting booths and said he has confidence he can accomplish the same.
Other highlights from the interview:
- On campaign finances: Castro told Woodruff that he believes his campaign will make it through a self-imposed fundraising deadline to raise $800,000 by October 31. The 2020 hopeful said last week that if his campaign did not receive such support, it would be “silenced for good.” “We’re not quite there yet, but we’ve gotten grassroots contributions from all over the country,” Castro said Wednesday.
- On health care: Castro also said that his health care plan — which would automatically enroll everybody in Medicare while allowing people to opt-out and remain on private insurance — is better than the plan proposed by former Vice President Joe Biden’ because it is more inclusive. Biden’s plan, by contrast, allows people to opt-in to Medicare, but Castro said it would “would leave 10 million people uninsured.”
- On benefits to undocumented immigrants: “If I were president right now, I would allow folks — if they’re uncodumented — to buy into the exchanges, so that they’re contributing something into the system and they’re able to get preventative care,” Castro said in defense of his support to provide health care to undocumented immigrants who are already in the U.S. “[Taxpayers] are already paying for people’s healthcare in this country, it’s called the emergency room,” he said.
- On immigration: Decriminalizing illegal border crossings does not mean “open borders,” according to Castro. “Crossing the border without permission would still be against the law, but we would treat it like we used to treat it for more than fifty years — under Democratic and Republican presidents — when it was considered a civil offense.” Castro said that Trump has “weaponized” the legal system in order to deter migration. The former secretary wants to reverse the Section 1325 of U.S. immigration law to eliminate the possibility for future administrations to separate families.
- On electability: Castro also emphasized his track record of executive experience — as Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama — as a qualifier for his candidacy. He continued: “I want to make sure that everyone counts in this country. Not just 37 percent of the country that [President Trump] considers his base, but everybody.”