Well, now it's official: Julian Castro will save us all. The smiley, fresh-scrubbed, still relatively newly elected mayor of San Antonio -- who, at 35, is young enough to think Paul McCartney is that guy from Wings -- has been all but knighted by the British newsmagazine The Economist, which named him one of three thirtysomething American pols to watch in 2010.
Writes the mag's U.S. editor, Christopher Lockwood:
San Antonio is America’s seventh-largest city, and the largest Hispanic-majority city of all. So by winning—without the usual need for a run-off—Mr Castro instantly became one of the most prominent Hispanics in America. (His rivals for the title include Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the Supreme Court as the first-ever Hispanic justice last August, and the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.)
Mr Castro has a big future to fulfil, which will doubtless one day include running for the United States Senate or for the governorship of Texas. Thanks to its large and rapidly rising Hispanic population, Texas is one of only four states in America where “Anglos” (non-Hispanic whites) no longer form the majority. Since Hispanics tend to vote strongly Democratic in elections, this offers the prospect of George Bush’s home state flipping to the other side in the not-too-far-off future. An important development to watch will be the state legislative elections in Texas in November 2010: the Democrats are only two seats short of control of the state’s House, and hope to win it, thanks in large part to the Hispanic vote. As it happens, Mr Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, is a member of the Texas House. Might Mr Castro one day be the Hispanic Barack Obama? He certainly has the charm, brains and boldness for the role.