Deval Patrick is a natural as a presidential candidate. A beloved two-term governor of Massachusetts, Patrick graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law. He’s a close friend of President Barack Obama and probably the best bet that the Democrats have in the 2020 election.
When he was governor, I interviewed Patrick any number of times on public radio and I seldom failed to ask him whether he had an interest in national office, running for either the presidency or the vice presidency. In each case, he has answered in the negative. He was fond of saying that first he had to make some money which is presumably what he was doing at Bain Capital, the firm co-founded by Mitt Romney who, interestingly, preceded Patrick as Massachusetts governor. Before his governorship, Patrick served in the Clinton Administration as assistant United States attorney general for civil rights. His family had little money and by dint of his extraordinary intelligence and work ethic, he received a scholarship to a first rate private school and then moved on to Harvard.
The history of his relationship with his wife, Diane, is an extraordinary love story which I was privileged to hear directly from the pair. If you hear it you will end up, guaranteed, with tears in your eyes as you learn how Deval Patrick went a long way to save his precious and brilliant wife both from depression and a former abusive relationship. His story of how, as governor, he had to sneak into a hospital to care for Diane will leave you with your hair standing up on end.
Deval Patrick is African American. We know that many in the African American community do not trust our politics for a lot of good reasons. Half the country does not vote in presidential elections. It has always caused me great consternation that among that half there is astounding number of potential African American voters. Perhaps they choose not to vote because the system has been so loaded against them and has denied them the basic services that so many white voters have enjoyed. It is no secret that Barack Obama’s two victories were aided by a large turnout of people of color. This made the difference in the successful election outcome for the Democrats and that could happen again. Furthermore, like Obama, Patrick has achieved the kind of success that will be admired by white voters, too.
Some doubters have suggested that because of his work as a managing director at Bain Capital, middle and lower class voters will not support him. I would argue the contrary — it is precisely because of his work within the American capitalistic system that many potential voters will trust him. With that said, however, examine his history as governor supporting his predecessor Mitt Romney’s groundbreaking health care system. That resulted in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) which gave basic health rights to so many uninsured Americans for the first time.
Let there be no doubt that if and when Patrick runs for president, he will have a powerful supporter in Obama who is still one of the most popular figures in the history of American politics. Patrick recently announced that he was musing about a presidential run. I don’t think I have heard any words from a contemporary politician that have given me such hope that our time in the land of Trump may be over. Trump is, by no means done with his career. Respected political watchers think that he could win again with the same strategy to take the electoral college that gave him his last victory. Let’s just remember that Trump had a very narrow victory. If some 77,000 votes had changed in a few strategic states, Clinton would have won. Assuming that African American and progressive white voters are energized, Deval Patrick will be just the ticket.