Do I mean the Bain exec who rightly judged Russia as the top geopolitical adversary during a 2012 presidential election? You wish. The man getting nudged by Barack Obama into a 2020 presidential run, Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reports, is the man who tossed that opportunity away in the 2016 cycle for a shot at venture-capital glory:
Barack Obama is nudging him to run. His inner circle is actively encouraging it. Obamaworld’s clear and away 2020 favorite is sitting right here, on the 38th floor of the John Hancock Building, in a nicely decorated office at Bain Capital.
And Deval Patrick has many thoughts on what he says is Donald Trump’s governing by fear and a dishonest pitch to economic nostalgia, while encouraging a rise in casual racism and ditching any real commitment to civil rights.
Obama strategist David Axelrod has had several conversations with Patrick about running, and eagerly rattles off the early primary map logic: small-town campaign experience from his 2006 gubernatorial run that will jive perfectly with Iowa, neighbor-state advantage in New Hampshire and the immediate bloc of votes he’d have as an African-American heading into South Carolina.
Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s close adviser and friend, says that a President Patrick is what “my heart desires.”
The preferred option in Obama circles is apparently still Joe Biden, who will turn 78 a couple of weeks after the 2020 election. Biden has at least shown some interest in national politics, touring key states such as Florida and New Hampshire, writing a book, and attacking Donald Trump whenever possible. When pressed by Dovere, Patrick comes up with critiques of Trump as well, warning that he’s “diminishing the voice of the presidency,” which is hardly a cutting or incisive criticism.
Otherwise, Patrick has barely bothered to engage politically since taking the job at Bain, a firm that Obama and his campaign thoroughly and unfairly demonized in the 2012 cycle. It’s unclear why Obama and his circle would see him as a sellable candidate within the ever-more-progressive Democratic Party. He left politics not to practice law but to join Wall Street, which the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the party see as the, well, bane of progressive existence. He wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire even before then, either. After two terms as governor, the deep-blue state of Massachusetts replaced him with Republican Charlie Baker, who has been far more popular than Patrick ever was.
Coincidentally, Baker just announced the appointment of a former Bain executive to run his new Executive Office of Technology Services and Security. Want to bet Democrats try to attack him for that in the next election? What will Sanders and Warren say about Patrick if they get in the race, as the progressives will no doubt demand?
It doesn’t sound like Patrick has all that much interest in politics any longer. If he did, he could have found a number of places other than Bain Capital to earn some cash and credibility for a run at the Democratic presidential nomination. If Democratic hopes come down to three septuagenarians or a barely missed Bain exec, the party’s in more dire straits than previously imagined.