We’ve seen a stampede of Democrats heading toward the In door for 202o, so it’s notable to see one about to push through the Out door. Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts and one of the few non-Beltway Democrats with national standing, won’t join the 2020 sweepstakes after all:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is calling close allies and informing them he is not running for president in 2020, sources close to the governor tell POLITICO.
Patrick informed staff and advisers of his decision Tuesday, the sources say, with an announcement to come as soon as this week. …
Patrick‘s supporters saw him as having the right resume to challenge Donald Trump — someone outside the fray of Washington politics, with a background in business but also as a seasoned prosecutor, a mix of experiences that could blunt some Republican attacks. His relentlessly upbeat style and lofty rhetoric could serve as an antidote to some of the bitter divisions of the Trump era, they said.
Patrick and his supporters began feeling out the prospects for a run over the summer, “nudged” by Barack Obama to do so, but it didn’t take long for Patrick to get discouraged. He told former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod in September that he’d have to out-anger the rest of the field, a task for which he wasn’t well-suited. “It’s hard to see how you even get noticed in such a big, broad field without being shrill, sensational or a celebrity,” Patrick said, “and I’m none of those things and I’m never going to be any of those things.”
That’s hardly the only problem Patrick would have had on the campaign trail. He left politics in early 2015 to work for the same venture-capital firm Mitt Romney once owned, Bain Capital, which Obama vilified in the 2012 presidential campaign as “vulture capitalism.” Patrick has mostly been on the political sidelines ever since and still works at Bain as a managing director, which would put him at odds with the progressive lurch within the party that would have to nominate him.
The New York Times reports that progressives had already targeted him over Bain, along with other media-driven campaigns for the wealthy:
Some political observers had raised questions about whether his association with Bain Capital, as well as past business dealings, might be considered a negative for Mr. Patrick in a Democratic primary contest, particularly in light of tension in the party between Democrats who support business-friendly politics and those with anti-corporate or anticapitalist views.
Already, social media memes had appeared attacking Mr. Patrick’s Bain connection.
That included a swipe by David Sirota last month that lumped Patrick in with Michael Bloomberg, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and “oil/gas ally” Gov. John Hickenlooper as oligarchs-in-waiting. That might apply to Bloomberg and Schultz, but it’s a bit of a stretch to label two Democratic governors as “oligarchs,” especially Hickenlooper. His professional involvement with oil and gas was as a geologist a few decades ago, but after getting laid off, Hickenlooper opened a brewery and contributed to the revitalization of an economically distressed area of Denver. If that’s what passes for oligarchy on the progressive Left, then anyone with any private-sector success will be too suspect for Democrats.
Patrick must have known this back in 2015, though, when he signed up with Bain. As I noted at the time, that itself was practically a declaration of eternal disinterest in the Democratic presidential nomination, and maybe for any other Democratic nomination. If Deval Patrick wants to get back into electoral politics, he might want to take a close look at the GOP. He can always say he got a head start on that by realizing just how toxic the Democratic view on free markets really is. I’d buy tickets for that event.