Deval Patrick Enters the Polarized Dem Primary
Deval Patrick Enters the Polarized Dem Primary
The Democrat primary field is crowded, and polarized on major issues. The candidates are too old, too moderate, too young, too far left. None of the candidates has crossover appeal required to win the support of the far left and then the general election. If only they had Obama for a third term. Enter Deval Patrick. A candidate with potential to upset the current field and the polarized priorities.
Zealots win primary elections, and lose the general elections. An unfortunate consequence of the primary system is that appealing to the farthest realms of the party is a requirement to winning the nomination. Party leaders know this, and when necessary will adjust their rules to push the more centrist candidate. The DNC did it when Hillary Clinton was losing to Bernie Sanders. Enter the “superdelegates”, and a seemingly stolen party nomination.
A 2019 Pew Research study noted,
Among Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, somewhat more say they want the Democratic Party to move in a more moderate (53%) than more liberal (40%) direction.”
The outrage, and far left positions of Warren, and Sanders are not positions shared by the bulk of centrist voters. Even amongst Democrats these positions place them behind the more moderate Biden. The New York Times recently published an interactive article highlighting the diverse spread between the vocal minority and the silent majority factions within the party. Their data shows that historically, the “ideologically consistent” (aka zealot) nominee has lost the general election.
In recent decades, most of the candidates who have found their core strength among the party’s ideologically consistent, left-liberal activist base have lost. The establishment candidates won the nomination by counting on the rest of the party’s voters…. it would also be a mistake to assume that outrage on social media means outrage throughout the broader electorate. And it would be a mistake to assume that more moderate Democrats are out of step with the party’s electorate.”
The Democrats polarized frontrunners highlight the spread within the party. There is a 4 point difference between the moderate candidate and the far left candidate. According to recent polls, tabulated as an average by the New York Times,
Joseph R. Biden Jr. has stabilized his position in the mid-20s, while Elizabeth Warren is hovering around the 20-percent mark with Bernie Sanders a few points behind her. Pete Buttigieg is in a clear but distant fourth place. No one appears to be moving dramatically right now. And no candidate can claim to be in control of the race.”
The Federalist article, “How College Educated Whites Are Polarizing And Fracturing The Democratic Party“, cites a recent Echelon Insights study highlighting party split.
President Trump’s policies are of extreme concern to 77 percent of white college Democrats, but only 58 percent of black Democrats. (There is a roughly similar split on “Trump’s offensive tweets.”) Climate change is of extreme concern to 71 percent of white college Democrats, while only 38 percent of black Democrats feel that way.”
The top three Democrat frontrunners have two commonalities. They are old, and they are white. None has the aspirational “hopes and dreams” narrative of Obama. None of the frontrunners has the cross-party appeal that Obama did as the first Black nominee. If only they had a candidate who overcame inner city adversity, attained national prominence, held the appeal of Obama (but with actual political experience), and wasn’t polarized on specific issues….
Enter Deval Patrick. The first Black Governor of Massachusetts, NAACP lawyer, and assistant attorney general for civil rights under Bill Clinton. He has private sector credentials, and political experience on the state and national levels.
He is described as a moderate progressive in the image of Obama. In fact, the parallels are uncanny. Patrick is the son of an absent father, raised in his grandparents home by a single mother. He was awarded a scholarship to a prestigious private school, the Milton Academy. Later he attended Harvard as an undergrad, and then Law school. He worked with the NAACP in the voting rights and death penalty areas. After leaving his position as the assistant attorney general for civil rights, he went to work for Texaco. He then won the governorship of Massachusetts for two terms. At the conclusion of his tenure in state government he went to work as a partner Bain Capital. He’s married to a lawyer, Diane Patrick, and they have two daughters.
It’s like someone shoved Mitt Romney and Barack Obama into a blender to create the perfectly center-left candidate. Private sector experience (albeit in civil rights issues), government experience, an aspirational personal story, and a “we can all be better than this” narrative.
The national media is going to love him. Inclusive, self-made, compassionate and all the things America needs to “heal” from the reportedly divisive and polarized Trump era. Deval Patrick is quickly going to be the best alternative to candidates who were likely to fail in the general election. His time as governor is marred by a couple potholes (not turnpike sized, but sure to be mentioned). The Boston Globe lists both the high and lows of his tenure.
I will not be surprised when both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama give Mr. Patrick their nod of support and publicly endorse him for POTUS.
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