On more than one occasion last year as Julián Castro lavished praise on his presidential rival Elizabeth Warren, the words of Pee-wee Herman echoed in my head: "If you love her so much, why don’t you marry her?"
Last week, a few days after ending his own bid for the presidency, Castro kind of did — endorsing Warren and then, the next night, appearing with her before a joyous overflow crowd of well-wishers at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, N.Y.
They shared vows of affection. He clapped and beamed as he watched her bust some exuberant dance moves — the double fist pump, hula hands.
They hugged. A couple of times.
EXCLUSIVE video of Warren doing the "High Hopes" dance with Castro as her featured back-up dancer! Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/MGzwF0zBvd— Pete's Alter Ego!!! (@destroyurego) January 9, 2020
And then Warren, queen of the selfies, declared, "We’re gonna do something historic. Julián and I, for the first time in history, we’re gonna stand here and do double selfies."
.@ewarren's selfie lines can have thousands of people and be hours long! Here’s how our campaign staff gets it done. pic.twitter.com/Vo7WUkkquc— Team Warren (@TeamWarren) January 5, 2020
If Warren is the Democratic nominee, it now seems more likely than not that Castro will be her running mate, assuming he does his part in Texas and elsewhere to help her secure the nomination.
"That’s how you earn your way onto the national ticket," said Christian Archer, the Democratic consultant who ran Castro’s three successful campaigns for mayor of San Antonio.
Together, @JulianCastro and I are fighting to build an America that represents the best of who we are. pic.twitter.com/PspG9ZLSUH— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 8, 2020
On Wednesday night I ran into Pedro Villalobos at the endorsement meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of Austin at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center.
Villalobos, 28, is one of the best-known and best-liked figures in Austin Democratic politics, even though he can’t vote. In fact, Villalobos, whose parents brought him to Houston from Cuernavaca, Morelos, when he was 3, is only protected from deportation by DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — created by President Barack Obama in 2012 as an executive action.
On Monday, he was at the Liberal Austin Democrats meeting. On Tuesday, it was the Capital Area Progressive Democrats, a club he chairs, and on Thursday, the West Austin Democrats. He was making the rounds after his New Year’s Day launch of a grassroots group, Texans for Joe Biden.
I first wrote about Villalobos in 2014, when he was a second-year law student at the University of Texas: Villalobos had introduced Vice President Joe Biden at a West Lake Hills fundraiser a year before — identifying himself as an immigrant lacking legal residency status — and he hailed Biden as "someone who will always have our back." At 23, Villalobos had met five American presidents, more than most heads of state can claim.
On Wednesday, he told me, "I can understand Julián’s point of view, but I think that what people are missing is we need someone that's going to be able to beat Donald Trump."
He said the election will come down to a handful of states — North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan Pennsylvania — where Biden polls best among Democrats against Trump.
In Texas, he said, "with Joe Biden at the top of the ticket we can hopefully get the energy and the level of turnout that we need and the crossover votes that we need in order to flip the remaining nine seats that we need to turn the Texas House blue."
Of selfies, Villalobos said, "Joe Biden was doing selfies before they were cool, before it really was a thing."
On himself, Villalobos said, "when it came to Joe Biden, when I look at where I am right now in my life, which is an assistant district attorney in Travis County, Texas, I am also an undocumented immigrant who prior to 2012, 2013 was not going to be able to do that. That was because of the Obama-Biden administration. You have to give credit where credit is due."
"I think we need someone that’s going to be able to appeal to as many people as we can and come as close as we can to the Obama coalition," Villalobos said.
I recalled Castro telling me at an Olive Garden in Las Vegas back in August, "I believe I stand the best shot of summoning the Obama coalition from 2008 and supercharging that coalition to defeat Donald Trump in 2020."
"We’ll never know," Villalobos said.