For months now rumors have circulated over who might step forward to lead “The Resistance” for the Democrats and make a run for the White House in 2020. While many names have been tossed around, two candidates from Obama’s administration, VP Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder, are the only ones to have seemingly taken the next step of directly hinting they would be interested in a run.
Biden made his most direct expression of interest back in May at the SALT conference when he said “at this point, no one in my family or I have made the judgment to run…I may very well do it.”
Meanwhile, Eric Holder recently raised some eyebrows about his future political aspirations when he told Yahoo News that he was looking “to be more visible.” Here’s more from the Washington Times:
“Up to now, I have been more behind-the-scenes. But that’s about to change. I have a certain status as the former attorney general. A certain familiarity as the first African-American attorney general. There’s a justified perception that I’m close to President Obama. So I want to use whatever skills I have, whatever notoriety I have, to be effective in opposing things that are, at the end of the day, just bad for the country.”
“Now is the time to be more visible. Now is the time to be heard. … I thought, frankly, along with everybody else, that after the election, with Hillary Clinton as president, I could walk off the field. So when she didn’t win, I thought, ‘We’ll have to see how this plays out.’ But it became clear relatively soon — and certainly sooner than I expected — that I had to get back on the field and be in effective opposition.”
But, while Joe and Eric may be interested in a 2020 bid, we suspect that neither potential candidate will get very far along the campaign trail without the blessings of their former boss. Unfortunately, according to Politico, Obama seems to have gone all-in on his long-time friend and former Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick.
Barack Obama is nudging him to run. His inner circle is actively encouraging it. Obama world’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 for 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 jibe 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.”
David Simas, Obama’s political director in the White House and now the CEO of his foundation, used to be Patrick’s deputy chief of staff and remains perhaps his biggest fan on the planet.
Obama himself—who is personally close to Patrick, and counts him among the very small group of people whom he thinks has actual political talent—has privately encouraged him to think about it, among others.
Patrick has, up to this point, denied any interest in the White House. That said, in the political world, as we all know too well, those who deny the hardest are usually the most likely candidates.
“I’m trying to think about how to be helpful, because I care about the country, and I’m a patriot first. It’s way, way too soon to be making plans for 2020,” Patrick told me in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast recorded at Bain headquarters in Boston. “So I’ll just leave it at that.”
Patrick fends off any attempts to corner him on the question, avoiding saying anything that could seem either cute or Sherman-esque—“don’t lead me down that path because it turns into something it isn’t, and I don’t want to go there,” he said. “I have no plans to make plans.”
But he’s clearly upset with what Trump is doing, on both policy and approach.
“The president, I believe, is at risk of diminishing the voice of the presidency because he pops off so often, and so, kind of, carelessly. I think there is a risk both domestically, and internationally for that matter, that we’ll begin to tune him out,” he said.
Who is Deval Patrick? Here’s a little background on the future contender from Wikipedia:
Deval Laurdine Patrick (born July 31, 1956) is an American politician, civil rights lawyer and businessman who served as the 71st governor of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as the United States assistant attorney general for the civil rights division under President Bill Clinton. He was first elected in 2006, succeeding Mitt Romney who chose not to run, and re-elected in 2010. He is the only African-American to have served as governor of Massachusetts.
Born to and raised by a single mother on the South Side of Chicago, Patrick earned a scholarship to Milton Academy in Massachusetts in the eighth grade. He went on to attend Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. After graduating, he practiced law with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and later joined a Boston law firm, where he was named a partner, at age 34. In 1994, Bill Clinton appointed him as the United States assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice, where he worked on issues including racial profiling and police misconduct.
Under his governorship, Patrick oversaw the implementation of the state’s 2006 health care reform program which had been enacted under Mitt Romney, increased funding to education and life sciences, won a federal Race to the Top education grant, passed an overhaul of governance of the state transportation function, signing a law to create the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, increased the state sales tax from 5% to 6.25%, and raised the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $11 per hour by 2017. Under Patrick, Massachusetts joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the planned introduction of casinos in Massachusetts. His second term began on January 6, 2011, and in an interview with The Boston Globe, Patrick declared he would not seek re-election in 2014. He is a managing director at Bain Capital and currently serves as the chairman of the board for Our Generation Speaks.
So, to the new DNC Chair, Tom Perez, you now have your marching orders for 2020: time to start undermining the campaigns of all other potential Democratic candidates and rally the support of those superdelegates around Deval Partick, in other words, time for your best Debbie Wasserman Schultz impression. And don’t worry: if you get caught just blame it on the Russians hacking your servers, just make sure the FBI never gets access to them… again.
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