At least one serious Democrat a ‘maybe’ on challenging Hillary in 2016

posted at 5:21 pm on September 4, 2014 by Noah Rothman

As of now, a handful of Democrats have flirted with (or outright embraced) mounting a challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of her expected second run at the White House. Those candidates have, however, largely been relative unknowns or too exotic to be considered a genuine threat to her inevitability.

Self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is seriously contemplating a 2016 bid, but few believe that he can mount a legitimate challenge to Clinton. Former Democratic Virginia Sen. Jim Webb is also contemplating a run at the White House, but he retired from the Senate after only one term, is not especially well-known, and is considered relatively centrist enough so that he won’t present a stark enough contrast with Clinton to draw off her core supporters.

But there is another Democrat with significant name recognition, the loyalty of a key base of the Democratic Party, and the donor class appeal to be considered a significant threat to Clinton’s presidential aspirations. No, not Sen. Elizabeth Warren, though she continues to keep the political commentariat guessing about her intentions. No, it’s Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

“There are a lot of people who have asked me to think about it,” Patrick told a Boston news outlet on Thursday. “I’m under no illusions. It’s a huge decision, not just for me but for my family.”

When pressed on if he will decide to make a run at the White House, Deval replied that he might. “Maybe, but not right away,” the governor said. Patrick has been a definite “maybe” since February (though he backed off this prospect briefly in June), but with the intensity of the 2016 cycle beginning to heat up his latest flirtation with a presidential bid is going to raise eyebrows.

Patrick has intimated his intention to challenge Clinton in the past. In July, he said he was “worried about the campaign,” and said that Clinton’s sense of “entitlement” to her party’s nomination was “off-putting.”

“It’s not like we’re pals,” Patrick said of Clinton at the time. Their sour relationship has surely not improved much in the interim.

In a Democratic primary, Patrick brings something to the table that Clinton does not: the Obama coalition. There is a significant part of the Democratic base which resents how Clinton has distanced herself from her former boss, and Patrick has made no effort to qualify his support for the current commander-in-chief. Moreover, Patrick was an early backer of Obama over Clinton, and a contest between her and the Massachusetts governor is most likely to foster the same dynamics which characterized the 2008 Democratic primary race.

That said, lightning rarely strikes twice. Patrick is unlikely to capture the hearts of the progressive wing of the party as Obama did in 2008 or Warren could in 2016. Clinton is slightly more popular with prospective Democratic primary voters than she was in 2008, although she was thought of as the party’s inevitable nominee at this point in that cycle, too.

Patrick may be the most credible Democrat to openly contemplate a 2016 challenge to Clinton yet, but he is also likely to prove little competition for the former secretary of state.


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“Devall Patrick or Hillary?” — obamas

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Deval Patrick has “significant name recognition”? Outside of Mass?

Bitter Clinger on September 4, 2014 at 5:27 PM

don’t bother.
glen beck says hillary has it in the bag.

renalin on September 4, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Deval Patrick? Isn’t he too unknown compared to cankles and even Fauxcahontas?

Also, please try to avoid using the words flirt, mount, and Hillary Clinton in the same sentence when possible. The image is too painful to endure when used together.

Democrats have flirted with (or outright embraced) mounting a challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Mark Boabaca on September 4, 2014 at 5:29 PM

I respect the hell out of Bernie Sanders, because he has beliefs and he stands up for them. Don’t agree with him almost ever, but he’s a socialist and he doesn’t care who knows. He doesn’t shade himself for political purposes.

A socialist with a backbone. The only one, apparently.

Sanders v. Paul, other than being another battle between two senators, would be impressive, because it would finally give voters a true option between statism and liberty.

Red Cloud on September 4, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Time for Bill to sic the Rumor&Smear mongers on to this person.

albill on September 4, 2014 at 5:31 PM

It’s going to be Jerry Moonbeam Brown on the Dem side….you heard it here first.

Deafdog on September 4, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Deval Patrick has “significant name recognition”? Outside of Mass?

Bitter Clinger on September 4, 2014 at 5:27 PM

As if Obama did (outside of Chicago/Illinois) when he ran in ’08? Let’s be honest with ourselves. There’s a strong chance that Patrick could upend Hillary’s supposed inevitability, and it wouldn’t look much different to how Obama defeated the Clinton Machine: media in his backpocket and affirmative action/racial guilt from white Democrats.

All I will say is, I will laugh myself to death if Patrick ends up pulling an Obama and wins the nomination over Hillary in ’16 (assuming Hillary runs which is very likely).

Aizen on September 4, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I’d say Cuomo, but if he gets to much momentum, the Obamas will kneecap him. They don’t want any Clintonista getting in power after them.

Iblis on September 4, 2014 at 5:33 PM

The Dems desperately need the Magic Teflon of Blackness™ so that none of Obama’s post-electoral sh!t sticks to the new Prezziedint.

Not to mention that War on Womynzsz simply doesn’t have the powah of Raycisss!!

Deval Patrick is the Dem’s 2016 nom, guaranteed.

Dolce Far Niente on September 4, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Please, Deval, do it! PLEASE!!!

Athanasius on September 4, 2014 at 5:33 PM

At least one serious Democrat a ‘maybe’ on challenging Hillary in 2016

That’s impossible – there is no such thing as a serious Democrat.

AUINSC on September 4, 2014 at 5:33 PM

As if Obama did (outside of Chicago/Illinois) when he ran in ’08? Let’s be honest with ourselves. There’s a strong chance that Patrick could upend Hillary’s supposed inevitability, and it wouldn’t look much different to how Obama defeated the Clinton Machine: media in his backpocket and affirmative action/racial guilt from white Democrats.

All I will say is, I will laugh myself to death if Patrick ends up pulling an Obama and wins the nomination over Hillary in ’16 (assuming Hillary runs which is very likely).

Aizen on September 4, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Yeah, but Obama became a better known quantity when he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Dem convention. That was his big “coming out party” and got people buzzing about him. When has Patrick ever had a “coming out party”?

Bitter Clinger on September 4, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Martin O’Malley Will Run In 2016 Even If Hillary Clinton Does

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, even if Hillary Clinton officially decides to run.

Though nearly seven in 10 Democrats say they have never heard of the governor — who has been in office since 2006 — Democratic fundraisers say O’Malley has told them he will still run so she will “face at least some competition” from an “established elected official,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

O’Malley “told me flat out he’s going to run either way,” a Democratic fundraiser told the newspaper.

Resist We Much on September 4, 2014 at 5:41 PM

When has Patrick ever had a “coming out party”?

Ever hear Deval speak? Every time he opens his mouth it’s a “coming out party”, and a faaaaaaabulous one at that.

3.14159 on September 4, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Obama’s Mini-Me.

NeoKong on September 4, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Yeah, but Obama became a better known quantity when he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Dem convention. That was his big “coming out party” and got people buzzing about him. When has Patrick ever had a “coming out party”?

Bitter Clinger on September 4, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Well, I think that people who even slightly follow politics know more about Deval Patrick at this point in time than the same kind of people knew about Obama in 2006. At least Patrick will have had two terms as governor under his belt if he decides to run.

Yes, you’re right. Obama had huge ‘cult of personality’ even before his campaign started going toe-to-toe with Hillary’s, but I’d like to believe cult of personality will become moot by 2016 and voters will be looking for candidates with actual experience, actual ideas (love ‘em or hate ‘em), and even the tiniest amount of achievement which Obama never had.

Aizen on September 4, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Hey Anti-Control Brains, this is who’s gonna win if Rand doesn’t and Shrillary doesn’t get the nomination. You want one of them to rule over your ignorant little self?

LawfulGood on September 4, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Resist We Much on September 4, 2014 at 5:41 PM

My Gov. And this guy is pure clown show. If by some tragic mistake he won, the country would be running on windmills and hamster wheels by the end of his term. He’s got all his cards in green.

BKeyser on September 4, 2014 at 5:58 PM

It’s going to be Jerry Moonbeam Brown on the Dem side….you heard it here first.

Deafdog on September 4, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Could be. When he ran back in 1976 he was too young and unproven.

Now he’s older than dirt and a proven disaster.

fadetogray on September 4, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Obama has stolen a lot of lines from Deval Patrick’s speeches, so this would be interesting.

GOPRanknFile on September 4, 2014 at 5:59 PM

No black candidate has a chance in 2016. In either party. Voters will not take that chance again while the memory of the disaster that is Obama is still fresh in their minds.

meci on September 4, 2014 at 6:00 PM

The Dems desperately need the Magic Teflon of Blackness™ so that none of Obama’s post-electoral sh!t sticks to the new Prezziedint.

Not to mention that War on Womynzsz simply doesn’t have the powah of Raycisss!!

Deval Patrick is the Dem’s 2016 nom, guaranteed.

Dolce Far Niente on September 4, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Hmm, I am thinking the black effect won’t be as strong. Few people can name the 2nd black MLB player behind Robinson… and well Robinson is one of the greatest players ever… Obama is an error-prone .027 hitter.

Odie1941 on September 4, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Patrick may be the most credible Democrat to openly contemplate a 2016 challenge to Clinton yet, but he is also likely to prove little competition for the former secretary of state.

I disagree. Put Hillary in a crowded debate and she’ll come off as a screeching hag. She’s unlikeable and is a piss poor campaigner. The only people convinced it’s her destiny to be President are Hill, Bill and Huma.

BacaDog on September 4, 2014 at 6:06 PM

No black candidate has a chance in 2016. In either party. Voters will not take that chance again while the memory of the disaster that is Obama is still fresh in their minds.

meci on September 4, 2014 at 6:00 PM

We just got a hard lesson WHY the last several dozen presents were Caucasian Christian men, starting with the fact that he worships a foreign faith that is a health hazard to the entire civilized world.

LawfulGood on September 4, 2014 at 6:08 PM

presents = Presidents.

stupid autocorrect.

LawfulGood on September 4, 2014 at 6:09 PM

God help this country.

msupertas on September 4, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Resist We Much on September 4, 2014 at 5:41 PM

My Gov. And this guy is pure clown show. If by some tragic mistake he won, the country would be running on windmills and hamster wheels by the end of his term. He’s got all his cards in green.

BKeyser on September 4, 2014 at 5:58 PM

I have to grudgingly give Deval (and also our NH Governor Maggie Hassan) some credit for helping to end the recent Market Basket clusterfark. For our readers outside of MA and NH, Market Basket is a supermarket chain (they also have 1 store in Maine). The 2 factions of the DeMoulas family who own the company have been at odds for decades, and 6 weeks ago the side that controlled 50.1% fired the hugely popular CEO Artie T. DeMoulas, who held 49.5% of the company. They replaced him with 2 outsider CEOs, one of whom had previously run a major California supermarket chain into the ground.

To make a long story short, the employees (non-unionized, by the way) revolted, and so did the customers. This just happened by chance, it wasn’t “formally” planned. And in just under 6 weeks those employees and us customers brought the idiots to their knees. The stores were empty and the company was bleeding millions, so they finally capitulated a week ago and Artie T. bought them out.

Oh, as for Deval’s looneyness, that runs in the family! His late father played trombone for zany jazz bandleader Sun Ra, who claimed to have been born on Saturn. Obviously the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree!

Del Dolemonte on September 4, 2014 at 6:18 PM

No black candidate has a chance in 2016. In either party. Voters will not take that chance again while the memory of the disaster that is Obama is still fresh in their minds.

meci on September 4, 2014 at 6:00 PM

I disagree. There is a significant segment of the Democratic base that would see voting for a fat old white woman that has led a life of white privilege as a huge step backward.

Second, could Barry endorse a fat old white woman of privilege and give the back of his hand to a brother? How could he do that and still be down for the schtruggle?

slickwillie2001 on September 4, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I’m sure the Black Panthers are ready to guard the polling places.

Kafir on September 4, 2014 at 6:34 PM

My Gov. And this guy is pure clown show. If by some tragic mistake he won, the country would be running on windmills and hamster wheels by the end of his term. He’s got all his cards in green.

BKeyser on September 4, 2014 at 5:58 PM

This deserves to be shouted in the ears of every cornfed rube derp-derping about how awful Rand Paul would be.

You want an awful President? You only seen the beginning, brother.

LawfulGood on September 4, 2014 at 6:38 PM

No black candidate has a chance in 2016. In either party. Voters will not take that chance again while the memory of the disaster that is Obama is still fresh in their minds.

meci on September 4, 2014 at 6:00 PM

If votes were cast on the basis of a rational and sober evaluation of facts, that would be true. But if votes were cast on such a basis, Mr Obama is one of several people who would never have been elected to anything higher than Trade Union representative. The very fact that Mr Obama has been elected as president *twice* is evidence that voters cannot be relied on to make sensible choices.

YiZhangZhe on September 4, 2014 at 6:38 PM

I disagree with your assessment of Web’bs prospects. Given his Reagan pedigree and his popularity with southern Democrats, I see him as a very credible candidate against Hillary, should he choose to run. He is an excellent campaigner and surprisingly popular with voters who know him. We’ve seen before that candidates with very limited name recognition can beat Hillary! and hard (see Obama, B) and an energetic campaigner who can bust apart the GOP coalition like Webb might be able to do is a serious threat.

At the very least he’s a great Veep candidate, but I see him as a Presidential candidate who, should he be able to win the nomination ina leftist nightmare of the Party of Stupid, would attract a lot of GOP votes and win.

MTF on September 4, 2014 at 6:40 PM

I don’t know if anyone else is going to say it in so many words, but if the Democrats nominate another ‘protected class’ (female or minority) candidate like Obama, a lot of voters are going to abstain or vote for the Republican out of once-burned-twice-shy caution.

PersonFromPorlock on September 4, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Having two black presidents in a row would be historic.

MT on September 4, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Late March, 2016, Bill Clinton and Carlos Danger make the front page of the Daily News for their interrupted-by-housekeeping three-way with a rather zaftig Staten Island meter maid at a Hempstead, Long Island Hampton Inn. Hillary strokes out when a belittled-too-often staffer hands her the paper with a grin. Bernie Sanders gets the nod and further hilarity ensues.

M240H on September 4, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Patrick has no chance at the nomination, although Democrats would like to see him run well.

What people are waiting upon is for Hillary to implode either with gaffes or some health issues. That way they aren’t seen as “opposing” her and have a better chance at her key donors and supporters.

Adjoran on September 4, 2014 at 9:18 PM

I think Patrick would actually comport himself well in a challenge to Hillary. He was a slightly below average governor, but Massachusetts is difficult to break outright (lots of fuel left in the engines) and on balance is doing OK. But more importantly, I think he’s 1000 times better on his feet (and more intelligent) than Obama ever was on his best day. And he has the kind of understated, incisive style that could really get under Hillary’s skin — trust me, it would be hilarious to watch. He’s every bit as smart as she is, if not more so… and at least he hasn’t killed anyone.

I’d welcome it.

dpduq on September 4, 2014 at 11:46 PM

I think Patrick would actually comport himself well in a challenge to Hillary. He was a slightly below average governor, but Massachusetts is difficult to break outright (lots of fuel left in the engines) and on balance is doing OK. But more importantly, I think he’s 1000 times better on his feet (and more intelligent) than Obama ever was on his best day. And he has the kind of understated, incisive style that could really get under Hillary’s skin — trust me, it would be hilarious to watch. He’s every bit as smart as she is, if not more so… and at least he hasn’t killed anyone.

I’d welcome it.

dpduq on September 4, 2014 at 11:46 PM

Re “He was a slightly below average governor”, what exactly has Hillary done that beats that?

slickwillie2001 on September 5, 2014 at 12:12 AM

There are simply too many stupid and ignorant voters to be able to predict with any reasonable certainty the outcome of an election that is still more than two years away.

HiJack on September 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Re “He was a slightly below average governor”, what exactly has Hillary done that beats that?

slickwillie2001 on September 5, 2014 at 12:12 AM

What difference does it make? Either of them have accomplished volumes compared to President Zero when he was first running, although I would take the junior Senator’s accomplishments from Illinois ANYTIME over what he’s accomplished since ascending to his throne in the White Castle.

HiJack on September 5, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Big deal. He is still a lying, confiscatory spending Democrat. No real accomplishments, and complete lack of understanding of the world and what makes it tick. Seems to be the complete package for Democrats these days. Must be a result of all those “esteem raising” years in public school.

Webrider on September 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Maybe Chris Christie will run against her.Wait-he’s a Republican,maybe.At any rate Christie says he won’t take a stand on immigration unless he runs for President.Now I know how he lost so much weight.He lost his balls!

redware on September 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM