Deval Patrick's Running for President and, Don't Laugh, He Could Win

Friday, November 30, 2018

You and I will never have a credible pathway to the presidency of the United States, but if we did, we would take it.

That's why former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (2007-15) will be a candidate for president in 2020.   He probably won't win, but he could win; therefore, he'd be crazy not to give it a shot..

Here's how a successful candidacy could unroll for the man I call, admiringly, the Buddha of America politics:

A naturally gifted, superb one-on-one campaigner, Patrick goes to Iowa early and often.  He connects exceptionally well with small audiences everywhere he goes, and, after weeks of  quietly going about the business of retail campaigning in small towns and at rural farm crossroads, his candidacy catches fire.  One day the sun comes up in Iowa and everyone's talking about this guy from Massachusetts by way of Chicago.

In the state caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020, he manages a strong second-place finish.

The wind in his sails, the campaign moves to New Hampshire, where a smitten national media covers every move of the Patrick campaign and every word on the stump of Patrick himself.  A legion of Deval loyalists from Massachusetts pours into the state to volunteer in the campaign and testify to the goodness of their man.

Patrick wins the February 11, 2020, New Hampshire primary and is now a legitimate presidential contender.  Several prominent Democratic governors and senators join his campaign. 

The first truly huge day of the 2020 race for the nomination, Super Tuesday, is coming up fast, on March 3. There will likely be primaries in 10 states that day: Alabama, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Vermont. Patrick, as the Democratic frontrunner coming out of New Hampshire, wins six of them: California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Vermont.

Then he picks up victories in Florida and Illinois, which will be holding their primaries on Tuesday, March 17.

From there, he's virtually a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination for president.  He's too smart, and too good a campaigner to blow it at that point.

In November, he goes up against a beleaguered Donald Trump, presuming the president is not indicted or impeached by then.  With the economy in recession and the Make America Great Again vow looking increasingly ridiculous, Patrick wins by 50 electoral votes, 294 to 244.

Writing in a recent edition of The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin said, "Patrick would enter the (presidential) race with one significant distinction: he is a kind of political heir to Barack Obama, and enjoys broad support from people close to the former President."

Toobin quoted David Axelrod, one of the few true masterminds of Obama's political ascent, who later worked in Patrick's 2006 gubernatorial campaign, as saying about Patrick, "He is a guy who makes people feel comfortable.  He's very principled, you can see that -- just like Obama."

I don't think Patrick can win the nomination in 2020.   But he has a chance.  If he did capture the nomination, he'd have a good chance of beating Trump and a decent chance of beating some other Republican.  The man has to run.

Post-Script, 12/6/18:  My crystal ball is broken: Deval Patrick announced today that he will not be a candidate for president in 2020.

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