Early on November 14, 2019, Deval Patrick, a former governor of Massachusetts, formally announced his candidacy for president of the United States in a way befitting the age of social media. He posted the announcement on Twitter.
“In a spirit of profound gratitude for all the country has given to me, with a determination to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American Dream for everyone: I am today announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.”
The tweet was attached to a boilerplate video in which Patrick talks about growing up poor in the south side of Chicago, rising to wealth and power, and the necessity of removing Donald Trump from the presidency to build that “better America/”
Even though he is entering the race relatively late, Deval Patrick is no billionaire entering the race to assuage his ego, like Michael Bloomberg. He served two terms as governor of Massachusetts, succeeding Mitt Romney. By the standards of that deep blue state, he was not particularly radical. He is African American and is said to be a close friend of former President Barack Obama. That relationship has caused speculation among the pundit class that Obama, who has declined to endorse his old vice president, Joe Biden, may offer the former governor his support.
After his two terms as governor, Patrick went to work for Bain Capital. The name should be familiar to people as it was the same private investment firm that was co-founded by Mitt Romney. Bain became the bane of Romney’s existence during the 2012 campaign. Bain specialized in buying troubled companies and either saving them or else breaking them up and selling the viable parts. As Hot Air notes, Romney’s association with Bain allowed his Democratic opponents to tar him as a “vulture capitalist,” someone who does not create new businesses but rather gets rich feeding off the carcasses of the old one. Patrick is very likely to get tarred with the same brush.
Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the radical left Daily Kos, already is taking a dim view of Patrick’s association with Bain in a terse tweet,
“We knocked Romney for working at Bain Capital, Deval Patrick doesn’t get a pass for doing the same.”
Besides the association with private investment, anathema to most Democrats. Patrick has the daunting task of building a campaign organization from scratch, raising money, and getting name recognition less than three months before the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary. Patrick is not following the lead of Bloomberg by bypassing those first in the national contests. He is already applying to enter the New Hampshire primary.
According to Politico, Patrick must also be hoping to grab a generous share of black voters, especially those who live in southern states. Thus far, African American Democrats have embraced Joe Biden and not the two other black candidates in the race, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. His close ties with Obama and his status as the second black governor since Reconstruction would play in his favor. If things break for Patrick, he might be able to apply a death blow to Joe Biden’s faltering campaign.
Observers note that Patrick is not a crazy, anti-capitalist like Sanders or Warren and thus would be safe to the big-money donors who are scared to death of the socialist wing of the Democratic Party. Patrick is also deeply religious, which should play well for him in the general election, should he get that far.
On the environment, especially climate change, Patrick is facing some scrutiny due to his ties with Big Oil, especially Texaco, according to The Hill. On the other hand, Patrick promoted both solar and wind power when he was governor of Massachusetts. No evidence exists that he is a Green New Dealer.
Patrick’s fellow Bay Stater, Elizabeth Warren, was somewhat uncharacteristically reticent to attack him, although he has a great many corporate ties, according to Fox News. “I’m not here to criticize other Democrats. I’m here to talk about why I’m running for president,” she said.
Depending on how Patrick’s entry scrambles the polling, most pundits expect that to change. Most of the socialist wing of the Democratic Party would regard a Deval Patrick presidency as little better than Donald Trump, albeit with a calmer, gentler demeanor.