Could former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick entering the 2020 presidential race a this stage as a centrist Democrat make an impact? @fivethirtyeight's @natesilver538 breaks it down. https://t.co/P6hCu9xvGB pic.twitter.com/ZHp8WqnDOZ
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 17, 2019
Deval Patrick was my governor for eight years, and he was a perfectly fine governor, as far as that goes. He didn’t have any big initiatives that got his name into the national news, but he also didn’t have any ‘scandals’ big enough to draw national attention. Given the choices I’ve had since I moved to Massachusetts at the end of 1988, I’d certainly pick him over current corner-office occupant Charlie Baker, or placeholders Paul Celluci/Jane Swift. I’d crawl over broken glass to pick him over Mitt Romney, of course. But if he were running against Bill Weld?… it would actually cost me a twinge, because even though he was a Republican I actually remember Weld fondly. And the stakes would be so much lower, since the MA governorship is a legislatively weak position.
But why now, in the name of Murphy the Trickster God, should Deval Patrick decide he wants to run for the legislatively strong position of president, in the face of an internationally acute crisis and a dozen other better-positioned candidates? Best clue I’ve been able to find is in this Washington Post beat-sweetner:
Newly minted presidential candidate Deval Patrick wants to appeal to black voters, but by a matter of days he missed the deadline to make the ballots in Alabama and Arkansas, two states with large black populations. He wants to win moderates and build a national coalition, but because he didn’t alert officials in Michigan of his candidacy earlier this week, he now faces the extraordinary task of gathering 11,000 signatures in the next month.
His campaign forgot to register the devalpatrick2020.org domain, so it’s instead forwarding to a harsh piece by Howie Carr, a Boston Herald columnist and longtime Patrick antagonist.
The former Massachusetts governor is proposing an audacious move — replicating in a few weeks what other presidential candidates have been trying to create for years — but as he attempts to leapfrog the field, the early days of his candidacy are an illustration of the height of the hurdles he faces.
He has no campaign cash, little campaign staff, low probability of qualifying for debates — and just 81 days to go, as of Thursday, before voting begins…
Patrick’s Thursday announcement opened with a video that had been quickly put together, focusing heavily on his biography to introduce him to an unfamiliar national audience. He also sat for an interview with CBS News, which had hired the former Massachusetts governor as a commentator in September but severed ties as his campaign began.
He said he thought he could offer something different than the rest of the field, appearing to knock Joe Biden as out of touch and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as too dug into her ideas…
Patrick had considered a race last year but decided against it. The current effort came together swiftly — just last Thursday he was speaking before the Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He was interviewed onstage by Neil Bradley, the chief policy officer for the chamber who is also a registered lobbyist, and made no mention of his political plans. The event was private, and there is no public record of the remarks.
On the same day, another potential presidential entrant, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, was laying the groundwork for his campaign, ensuring he was on the ballot in Arkansas, Alabama and Michigan.
Patrick held meetings over the weekend, and some of his aides made a round of calls attempting to recruit potential staffers — but in some cases were rebuffed…
How I read this, devout Cynic that I am, is that a bunch of Republican donors persuaded Patrick — who’s had dreams of the presidency since at least 2004 — that he should jump into the race now, logic and prospects of winning be damned. They don’t trust Bloomberg to toe the GOP line, and they’re terrified that either Biden or Warren will beat Trump (or whatever placeholder gets slotted in, should Trump implode before November 2020). Patrick isn’t much of a candidate, by their standards, but he’s Bain-affiliated, African-American, and can arguably kneecap Warren in New Hampshire. Taking their anti-Democratic agenda through the next quarter or two is as far ahead as a bunch of MBAs are willing to plan, in any case.
When you hear that the Democratic primary needs a center-left black savior with governing experience and business ties pic.twitter.com/gFdo24OeXn
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) November 13, 2019
Oppo research aside, I'm surprised Deval Patrick looked at a presidential race that has spent months erasing non-white candidates and thought he'd be the perfect candidate to break through all of that.
— Ragnarok Lobster (@eclecticbrotha) November 14, 2019
?? “Siri, draw me a map that goes nowhere.” https://t.co/f2F00tvAmr
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) November 14, 2019
Remember last week when Never Warren twitter was afraid Warren would pick him as a VP https://t.co/4oh8LPK5wT
— Circle Straffing (@MenshevikM) November 14, 2019
Everyone who said Marianne Williamson was going to skyrocket is now analyzing how Deval Patrick changes the equation.
— Every Chicken Sandwich Is A Policy Failure (@agraybee) November 15, 2019
“In interviews with more than a dozen major donors to Mr. Obama, they praised Mr. Patrick but said they were not planning on backing the former Massachusetts governor at this point.” https://t.co/a3YW57yBCb
— Josh Jamerson (@joshjame) November 15, 2019