Just days after ending his presidential campaign, Mayor Julián Castro has endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren for president. Warren, a former frontrunner whose popularity has waned in recent weeks, met with the San Antonio mayor to produce a campaign video in which Castro pledges his support and the two discuss the problems facing America today and potential solutions. Castro, a close friend of Warren’s, will join the senator at campaign rallies and events over the coming weeks and months as she continues her fight for the Democratic nomination, with the first votes being cast in Iowa less than a month away. Castro, who focused his campaign on a message of social justice, contextualized his endorsement by alluding to the women in his life, including his mother and grandmother, who worked hard to provide him with the opportunity to achieve the success he enjoys today. Though the Democratic field has narrowed considerably to include very few candidates of color, Warren remains among the highest-polling candidates, meaning she has the potential to become America’s first female president.
Despite her early popularity, Warren has fallen to third place in the race for the Democratic nomination, trailing Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders by several percentage points. Currently, the Democratic party appears to be split between those favoring a progressive political approach and those favoring a moderate one, with Warren and Sanders representing the progressive wing of the party and Biden and Buttigieg representing the moderate wing. Part of Warren’s struggle likely has to do with the fact that the progressive vote is split between her and Sanders; while Sanders benefits from name-recognition from his 2016 run for president and from being known for popularizing radical ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, Warren has gained support through her calls for “big, structural change,” her detailed policy proposals, and her economic expertise. While Biden continues to enjoy frontrunner status thanks in large part to his reputation as Obama’s vice president, Warren’s political acumen is arguably unparalleled, as she is an expert in US Bankruptcy law who established the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.
As Castro struggled in the polls, failing to meet the requirements to participate in the next Democratic debate, it is unclear to what extent his endorsement will benefit Warren’s campaign. That being said, Castro’s minority status may draw nonwhite voters to support Warren, who has struggled with minorities particularly in the aftermath of her dubious claim of Native American ancestry. On Twitter, Warren thanked Castro for his endorsement, saying she was “honored” to have his support. Though Castro failed to gain widespread support, he has contributed ideologically to the primary process by calling attention to reparations, decriminalization of border crossings, and housing inequality, among other issues of particular interest to minority groups. Additionally, Castro is known for his criticisms of the primary nomination process, arguing that it favors white voters as the first votes are cast in states with predominantly white populations. With several months remaining before the Democratic National Convention during which the Democratic nominee for president will be formally announced, only time will tell whether Castro’s support will give Warren the boost she needs to win the nomination.