Castro, Booker: Paths from City Hall in a Swiftly Changing Nation

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, at the Democratic National Convention.

Most of them have come from governors’ offices in the past century: The presidents of the United States.

Some from the Senate.

Not since Calvin Coolidge, however, has a one-time mayor of an American city become president. He came from Northampton, Mass. Before him, Grover Cleveland ran Buffalo, Andrew Johnson Greeneville, Tenn.

And no one has walked from a mayor’s office into the White House — which suggests that a certain career path must be crossed before any mayor makes it there. (Rudy Giuliani, “America’s mayor,” may have missed that message.)

Seeing a couple of young mayors ham it up for President Barack Obama (former senator), we were taken by how different these leaders are from Coolidge or Cleveland — in a nation which a generation from now is projected to become a majority of minorities. Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio (seventh largest city) already has taken a step on to a national stage, at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this year. And Mayor Cory Booker of Newark has made a name for himself as a one-man first responder in emergencies.

(Even Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — making the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows tomorrow, that governor’s path again — has joked about emulating Booker.)

They’re joking here about Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, running for Congress, in this joint appearance in Texas, where a transition in population may well turn the biggest red state blue. There’s no joke about the constituencies they represent, and the increasing clout these blocs will play in future elections.

“If current trends continue,” the Pew Research Center reports, “the demographic profile of the United States will change dramatically by the middle of this century… The nation’s population will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and fully 82 percent of the growth during this period will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants.”

By 2050, Pew reports, “the nation’s racial and ethnic mix will look quite different than it does now. Non-Hispanic whites, who made up 67 percent of the population in 2005, will be 47 percent in 2050. Hispanics will rise from 14 percent of the population in 2005 to 29 percent in 2050. Blacks were 13 percent of the population in 2005 and will be roughly the same proportion in 2050. Asians, who were 5 percent of the population in 2005, will be 9 percent in 2050. ”

Obama broke a barrier with his election.

Another generation is getting ready to walk through that wall.

What do you think about this article? Comment below!