Barack Obama’s brain trust sees a successor in Deval Patrick

Standing in a church hall this month, Deval Patrick scanned the faces at the get-out-the-vote rally and took them back to his childhood Chicago’s South Side and the private school experience that changed him.

What he had in Chicago was a real community, he said. When you had a stake in your neighbors’ dreams and struggles, and they had one in your’s. When each adult was responsible for each child, and people were wholly devoted to common interests. When you were intent on leaving things better for the next generation. Those values were why he was there for Josh Welle, a young Navy vet and Democrat running in his first race to try and knock off a 38-year congressional incumbent. Patrick also had a message of urgency: “If you think that a given campaign is about just the candidate, just about that moment, I’m asking you to think again. Every campaign, especially now, has to be about how we renew that sense of community.”

Patrick was hopeful, inclusive, optimistic about America, and silent on Donald Trump. And if some of the top alumni of Barack Obama’s campaigns and administration had their way, Patrick would be the candidate taking that Obamaesque message into the 2020 presidential campaign.