New Presidential Candidate: Deval Patrick

Courtesy of Wikipedia

By Claire Prudhomme

Fewer than 90 days before the Iowa caucus, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has officially announced that he is joining the presidential race. On Thursday, November 14, Patrick became the 18th candidate to join the race for the Democratic Party. 

Patrick has an extensive political history. At the beginning of his career, he worked as a corporate lawyer, then worked as the assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Clinton administration from 1994-1997. After his work there, he took the time to work for companies like Texaco and Coca-Cola and then reentered the public office as governor of Massachusetts from 2007-2015. Since leaving office, he has worked for Bain Capital, a private investment firm based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Patrick joined the race because he sees himself as the only candidate who can provide genuine leadership to the Democratic Party. Patrick has the same appeal former President Barack Obama did to the Progressives and he is a politician moderate enough to extend a wider voting demographic across different races, social classes, and groups. 

He supports a healthcare system that is low-cost and high-quality but he disagrees with the Medicare for all stances taken by current candidates. Patrick supports gun-control but in a sense that tightens up gun laws versus making them illegal. Patrick also wants to increase education funding, he wants to reform the criminal justice system to emphasize rehabilitation of criminals and he wants to simplify and equalize the tax system for all socioeconomic statuses. 

On paper, Patrick is the perfect candidate, but in the past, the issues that he supported resulted in turmoil in Massachusetts. After the state’s website crashed with a backlog of more than 50,000 applications for federal health care, Patrick was forced to make a public apology. Patrick was also accused of interfering in an issue regarding his brother-in-law being listed as a sex-offender in Massachusetts. At the time in 2014, Patrick pushed out two members of the Massachusetts Sex-Offender Registry Board because he claimed they were acting inappropriately when they made a decision to not put his brother-in-law on the sex-offender list, even after prior rape convictions against his sister.

While Governor Patrick entering the race is not necessarily controversial, it has surprised many voters. Initially, Patrick did not want to enter due to his wife’s health issues after a recent surgery she underwent for her uterine cancer. He also did not want to enter due to the “cruelty of [the] elections process.” Patrick then entered the race believing that he is the only candidate who can lead the country in a post-Trump era. 

Freshman Adam Joseph said that he thinks that entering the race is a form of political publicity for Patrick. 

“I think that Patrick entering the race is a way for him to drum up more support for himself, potentially for a Senate race in the future,” Joseph said. “I think that he and everyone else knows that he is not going to be the nominee, especially with the way that larger candidates such as Warren, Biden, Sanders and even Buttigieg in Iowa are doing.”

Patrick has expressed discontent with his fellow candidates as they are divisive and do not appear to have any strength or obligation to their topics. He said that Joe Biden seems more nostalgic than active, and according to the New York Times he sees Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar as uninspiring. He also stated Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are too extreme in their beliefs.

With the surplus of candidates in this election, the Democratic Party has turned from its past of having a few candidates to select in the primaries to now having eighteen people for voters to choose from. By adding himself to the race, Patrick has either used his unification he so often talks about to bring together the party or he has taken the party and divided it even more. 

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