Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism


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I’m careful about inviting politicians onto this podcast. Too often, questions go unanswered, and frustrated emails flood my inbox. So I only bring on candidates now if there’s a conversation directly related to themes of this show.

In this case, there is.

There’s a quiet moral radicalism powering Julián Castro’s presidential campaign. Laced through his policy agenda are proposals to decriminalize the movements of undocumented immigrants, to involve the homeless in housing policy, to establish American obligations to those displaced by climate change, to protect animals from human cruelty.

This is an agenda to expand the moral circle. To redefine who counts in the “we” of American politics.

I asked Castro if this wasn’t all a step too far, if Democrats didn’t need to play it safer to eject Trump from office in 2020. This broader moral vision, he replied, “is not just trying to backfill the negative. It gives people a positive purpose that they can reach for. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

This is a candidate interview worth hearing.

Book recommendations:

Influence by Robert Cialdini

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Read the transcript of this interview here

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

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309 episodes