Could Warren-Castro be the ticket?

Massachusetts and Texas pols seem in sync in first debate

You have to wonder if Warren-Castro could be the ticket to Democrats unseating President Donald Trump in 2020.

In a very crowded debate of 10 Democratic candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren got the chance to bookend the night during opening and closing statements, with her standard policy-laden plans sprinkled in between.

As the top polling candidate of Wednesday’s scrum, Warren was given star treatment by NBC, with her podium set at center stage. She didn’t exactly shine last night, and the Boston Globe‘s Joan Vennochi  even said that Warren wasn’t the big story, and she had “nothing to say about immigration.” But if you still think Warren looked like the frontrunner at least among this half of the Democratic field, you began wondering who could be her No. 2.

Immigration was a prevalent topic, as Democrats remain heated about Trump’s border and detention policies days after the drowning deaths of migrants Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria in the Rio Grande. Former housing secretary Julian Castro, who also served as mayor of San Antonio before joining the Obama administration, dominated on the subject with the most intricate policy proposals.

He pushed a plan to decriminalize crossing the US border without documents, challenging every candidate to support the repeal of a portion of the law that allows federal authorities who charge migrants who cross illegally with a criminal offense (although it would remain a civil offense). He even went as far as to call out fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke, saying that O’Rourke’s immigration policy would “criminalize a lot of these families,” and that the current law is the “reason that they’re separating these little children from their families.” Interestingly, Castro’s immigration policy is endorsed by Warren.

“Watching that image of Óscar and his daughter Valeria is heartbreaking; it should also piss us all off and it should spur us to action,” Castro said during the debate.

And while Castro got the chance to shine on immigration, Warren spent the day visiting the Homestead detention facility in Florida, the largest child migrant detention center in the country. The Globe‘s Liz Goodwin and Jess Bidgood wrote that Warren said she wants to end all private detention. During NBC’s breakout panel of millennial debate watchers, several young women touted the Massachusetts senator. But when it came to who “won” the debate, five out of six decisively said, “Julian Castro.”

Meet the Author

Sarah Betancourt

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a bilingual journalist reporting across New England. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, social justice, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a bilingual journalist reporting across New England. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, social justice, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

Many Latino journalists and prominent local immigration attorneys noted what an intriguing paring Warren-Castro would be, particularly with their similar immigration interests and their execution of incredibly complex policy (and explaining it to the average Joe). While Warren comes from a liberal state, Castro is from the state that has seen the most conservative border and migration policies executed, and a state that has struggled with its blue/red identity in the wake of a growing Latino and Democratic demographic.

The Boston-Austin alliance worked out well almost 60 years ago when John F. Kennedy paired up with Lyndon Johnson. Perhaps we’ll see another joining of Massachusetts and Texas political forces.