Serwer: So would you take a position in the Biden administration, and if you did, which one would you want?
Castro: Right now, I’m not aiming for anything. You know, I’m open to what the future will bring, whether that’s running for office again or serving in another capacity. But for the first time in a long time I’m not—when I got out of the Obama administration I had a sense that I would likely run for president. Right now, I’m kind of open to what the future brings. So I wouldn’t take it off the table, but I’m not counting on that either.
Serwer: That’s actually related to my next question, which is, are you going to run for statewide office in Texas?
Castro: It’s possible. That’s not what my mind is set on, but I’m watching how the state is developing, sure. It’s a new day in Texas also.
Serwer: Can you talk a little bit more about that? What do you mean by “it’s a new day in Texas”?
Castro: During this Trump era, Texas is clearly turning away from the Republican Party. And two dynamics are coming together to create that: The demographic change that everybody writes about and talks about in the Hispanic community, and also the diversification in the suburbs of Texas, and an influx of people coming into Texas from other states that generally are more moderate (and I say that as a native Texan).
I grew up in a time in Texas when people would say, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.” That’s what you hear about the Republican Party now in this state, especially among white, college-educated suburbanites. They see what Donald Trump is doing. And they just say, “That doesn’t represent my values, and it doesn’t represent what I want our country to be.” They’re not necessarily all running to the Democratic Party, but they’re running away from the Republican Party.
Serwer: After you dropped out, you endorsed Elizabeth Warren. Is she your preference for vice president?
Castro: I would love it if she were vice president, because I’m a big fan. At the same time, I think that there are other fantastic potential vice-presidential nominees, including Senator [Kamala] Harris, Stacey Abrams, a number of other people. As somebody that went through that process a few years ago, I know that that’s the nominee’s decision. The good news is that he has so many excellent candidates to choose from that if they were the vice president, they would be ready to serve as president if, God forbid, they were called to do that, but would also be strong partners in governance.
Serwer: So if we could switch it up a little bit again: How do you think Texas has handled the COVID-19 outbreak?
Castro: The governor has demonstrated poor leadership specifically, for three reasons. He opened up too early. When he opened up, he didn’t do the two things that medical experts say you need to put in place, which is sufficient testing and sufficient contact tracing. We ranked 48th per capita in testing right before he reopened the state, and did not have a contact-tracing regime in place. In addition to that, the state contracted with a firm that had never done contact tracing on the scale that was needed.