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Julián Castro Jabs Bernie Sanders at SXSW Over Slavery Reparations 

click to enlarge Julián Castro speaks at the San Antonio rally announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • Julián Castro speaks at the San Antonio rally announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president.

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro took a swipe at fellow contender Sen. Bernie Sanders Sunday over the Vermont independent's reluctance to offer reparations to the descendants of slaves.

At a special South by Southwest taping of CNN’s “State of the Union” in Austin, the former San Antonio mayor claimed Sanders wants to write a “big check” for everything but reparations.

“What he said on ‘The View’ the other day ... he didn't think the best way to address this was for the United States to write a check. To my mind that may or may not be the best way to address it,” Castro said. “However, it's interesting to me that when it comes to Medicare for all, health care, you know, the response has been we need to write a big check, that when it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been we need to write a big check.”

Thanks in large part to recent grassroots activism on racial inequality, reparations have become a hot topic for Democratic candidates. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as well as Castro, have signaled support for reparations in some form.

Sanders, however, has faced criticism before for not wanting pay them. In a March 4 interview with radio show “The Breakfast Club," Sanders flat out said “no” to Charlemagne Tha God’s “straight cash payouts” proposal to descendants of slavery. Instead, the senator argued that economic policy benefiting the impoverished would better help people of color.

Longterm Castro followers may be surprised by his bold stance on reparations, which at one point was — and to some still is — a radical idea. A critical profile from left-leaning magazine Jacobin touched on Castro's tenure as a San Antonio councilman and mayor, claiming they show him to be a moderate.

"Rather than pursue a fundamental break from or transformation of the existing political consensus, he accommodated it, working in the interests of the wealthy and powerful,” the magazine wrote.

While Castro served as President Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development in 2016, a coalition of 14 progressive and housing-advocacy groups launched a campaign opposing HUD’s alleged pro-Wall Street policies and their contribution to America’s massive racial wealth gap.

Believe it or not, we still have well over 600 days until election day 2020. The mud's just starting to fly. 

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