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Julián Castro drops out of the 2020 presidential race, while Marianne Williamson drops her entire campaign staff

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Julián Castro, Marianne Williamson

Julián Castro announced on Thursday he is dropping out the 2020 presidential race.

“We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people, and given a voice to people often forgotten,” Castro said in a video posted on social media. “But with only a month before the Iowa caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time.”

The Texas Democrat never broke out of single digits in polls, either in Iowa or at the national level.

Writing at Esquire, Charles Pierce, who has covered presidential campaigns since the 1980s, reflected on the implications of Castro’s exit.

This means that there is no longer a Latino presence in the field. This means that there is no longer a Latino presence in a field that still includes two no-hope white millionaires and a crackpot who thinks you can vibe away your cancer. This also means that there will be no candidate on stage at subsequent debates who reads out the names of the victims of police violence, who points out that police violence is gun violence, and who talks as much about poverty as he or she does about the embattled middle class.

Castro ran a very different campaign than his fellow Democratic candidates, starting with the Jan. 12 speech in his hometown of San Antonio, during which he announced his candidacy. Traditionally, candidates speak about law enforcement officers using either circumspect or flattering language. In his San Antonio speech, Castro said we must “reform and reimagine our justice system,” reciting the names of people of color killed by the police, such as Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, and calling them “victims of state violence.”

“I referred to it as ‘state violence,’ because at what point do we acknowledge that it’s not just a few people?” Castro told Little Village in April. “That we have this problem in our police departments across the country?”

In 2006, then-26-year-old Castro became the youngest person elected to the San Antonio City Council. Castro went on to be elected mayor of San Antonio, the country’s seventh-largest city, twice. And in 2014, he became the youngest member of President Obama’s cabinet, managing HUD, a department with a budget of $48 billion and 8,000 employees.

Interview with Julián Castro at The Mill

Before his appearance on the Political Party Live podcast, 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro sat down for an interview with Little Village. The former HUD secretary talked about growing up in San Antonio with a political activist mother, his first major challenge as an elected official and his plans for America.Full story: https://bit.ly/2UNRYQh

Posted by Little Village Mag on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Although none of the other candidates have adopted the blunt language of “state violence” regarding policing, or regularly recite the names of people killed by the police as Castro did, he did make the question of whether Section 1325 of the U.S Federal Code, which makes “unlawful entry” into the U.S. a federal misdemeanor, should be repealed an issue in the 2020 campaign. Most immigration-related offenses are civil infractions, and Castro proposed crossing the border without permission should be also become treated as a civil matter.

More recently, Castro has also focused attention on the demographics of the first two states to vote during the presidential primaries. Both Iowa and New Hampshire are overwhelming white — 90.7 percent and 93.2 percent, respectively — and both have populations that skew older than the national average. Castro argued that the two states are too unrepresentative of both the nation and the Democratic Party to continue to have the first-in-the-nation status they currently hold.

Castro’s withdrawal wasn’t the only news on Thursday related to the end of a campaign. New Hampshire television station WMUR reported that Marianne Williamson (the “crackpot” to whom Charles Pierce referred in the excerpt above) laid off all her campaign staff around the country on Dec. 31.

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Marianne Williamson at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame celebration in Cedar Rapids, June 9, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

“I am not suspending my candidacy, however,” Williamson said in a press release following the report.

The first-time presidential candidate, who is a bestselling author of books on topics ranging from the spiritual aspects of weight loss (Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever) to the spiritual aspects of money management (The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles) to the spiritual aspects of politics (Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens), said the unusual nature of her campaign — “The point of my candidacy has been to tell the heart’s truth” — will allow her to continue with an all-volunteer workforce.

“[I]t’s amazing what you can do with volunteers,” Williamson, a millionaire, said.

Update, Jan. 6: Castro has endorsed Elizabeth Warren.

“There’s one candidate I see who’s unafraid to fight like hell to make sure America’s promise will be there for everyone, who will make sure that no matter where you live in America or where your family came from in the world, you have a path to opportunity, too,” Castro said in a video posted to Twitter. “That’s why I’m proud to endorse Elizabeth Warren for president.”


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