Castro-Sanders Feud Growing? Protest Planned In SA

click to enlarge Castro-Sanders Feud Growing? Protest Planned In SA
Joaquin Castro/Facebook

San Antonio Congressman Joaquín Castro is taking it on the chin from a hometown political segment that would usually back him.


Diehard Democrats, at that.

They're not at all happy that Castro criticized their choice for Democratic presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders. Granted, there's some friction already since Castro supports and is actually campaigning for Sanders' main opponent for the nomination, Hillary Clinton.

But Castro apparently added fuel to the fire last week while campaigning for Clinton in Iowa. He particularly jabbed at Sanders for not doing much to connect with Latino voters.

"I want to say this in all frankness. I didn't come here to knock any of the candidates, but Sen. Sanders has not reached out to the Hispanic caucus in Congress, has not reached out to me," Castro said, according to the Texas Tribune. "I've never met the gentleman. [He] has not visited Texas or the Rio Grande Valley." 

That got Sanders supporters in SA riled up – to say the least. 

If they were looking for a reason to publicly decry Castro, he handed it over to them.

The Sanders movement in the Alamo City is still a nascent one. It's got around 300 active members, many of them Latinos. Around 50 of them plan to let their feelings on Castro known by protesting outside his office in downtown SA on Monday morning.

A press release announcing the protest said the action is being taken "in response to his recent attack on presidential candidate Bernie Sanders."

Expounding on that point, Rick Treviño, a 30-year-old teacher at Sam Houston High on SA's East Side and founder of SA 4 Sanders, said that the point is not to personally attack Castro, but to let him know he's way wrong  on Sanders.

"I think what Castro said is disingenuous," Treviño told the San Antonio Current. "I don't know what he was trying to do. But he should be actually fight for policies that emulate Bernie Sanders."

Treviño further noted that unlike other candidates doing the typical pandering-to-minorities political maneuver, Sanders doesn't target one group over another. His approach is more class-based, which encompasses all ethnic groups and races.

"I want to see Joaquín fight for minimum wage, to break up the big banks, reign in power of big money in politics, push for health care for everyone," Treviño said.

For its part, the Castro camp clarified that his comments in Iowa came in response to an audience question on why Latino voters should choose Clinton over other Democratic candidates – not as an unsolicited attack.

Asked to respond to San Antonio Sanders supporters and their planned protest outside his SA office, Castro apparently is all about defusing any further tension.

"It's great to see so many San Antonio Democrats engaged in our political process this early in the presidential election," Castro said in a statement to the Current. "It's a competitive primary and it's encouraging to see the excitement folks have for their candidate of choice. At the end of the day, we are all going to work together to help elect whichever Democrat wins the nomination next year."

It remains to be seen if he'll be able to win over Treviño and company to join in that spirit of cooperation. They'll likely want Castro first to show that he can "feel the Bern."