Why Deval Patrick is making a late bid for the Democratic nomination

Patrick currently works at Bain Capital, the private equity firm that Democrats spent 2012 criticizing because Mitt Romney had long worked there. That looked like a huge liability this time last year, when Patrick flirted with but ultimately ruled out a run. Back then, it seemed like the party’s left was ascendant and Patrick’s Bain work would be a deal-breaker. Now, I expect Patrick to be more unapologetic about his work, essentially leaning into the idea that he is more moderate and pro-capitalism than Warren or Sanders.

It all sounds pretty good on paper, right? You can almost see why Patrick decided to launch such a late, long-shot bid.

There is a potential problem, though: I’m not sure voters really want Buttigieg-but-older or Biden-but-younger. Whatever the Democratic elites think, Democratic voters like the current field, as I noted above. That makes me think that people in Iowa, where the South Bend mayor is surging, are not looking for Buttigieg-but-older. They’re probably well aware of how old Buttigieg is — he talks about it all the time! Biden, meanwhile, has led in national polls most of the year and has solid leads in Nevada and South Carolina — it’s possible many voters view his age and related experience as a feature not a bug. Patrick will be a fresh candidate and perhaps have a more honed message, but in the end may register with actual voters not much differently than Booker or Harris or any of the other lower-tier candidates, black or non-black.

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