Former Gov. Patrick talks politics and future


State House News Service
Published: 8/2/2017 1:50:18 PM

BOSTON — Since leaving office, Gov. Deval Patrick has been “trash talking” with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and has received encouragement from political luminaries to think about pursuing the presidency, according to a new report.

Patrick, who previously laughed off speculation that he might seek the White House in the 2016 cycle, sounded open to the prospect of a 2020 campaign in his interview with Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico’s chief Washington correspondent.

“I’m trying to think about how to be helpful because I care about the country and I’m a patriot first. And it’s way, way too soon to be making plans for 2020, so I’ll just leave it at that,” Patrick said. He said, “I have no plans, and I have no plans to make plans.”

In a story posted Tuesday, Politico reported that former President Barack Obama has encouraged Patrick to think about a presidential bid, and said the former president’s advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod have also spoken to Patrick about the idea.

In a discussion with Dovere aired on the Off Message podcast, Patrick said he talks about politics and life with Warren, and he suggested Democrats need to present their own vision for the future rather than merely pitching themselves as an alternative to President Donald Trump.

In what may be considered a critique of Hillary Clinton’s data-driven 2016 campaign, Patrick discussed one of the lessons he drew from the last electoral cycle.

“I think number one, elections aren’t about math, they’re about people, all kinds of people from all quarters of the country, and this notion of having a few places where we focus in and pay attention from a political point of view — I’m not saying from a policy point of view, a political point of view — may be efficient, but it’s dumb,” Patrick said.

The two-term Democrat who is now a managing director at Bain Capital also dispensed morsels of insight on the political moment.

“Fear solves nothing other than political ends,” Patrick said. He said, “The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m persuaded that our democracy depends on unwritten rules. Rules around decorum and restraint and duty and civility and respect, and a lot of those rules have been cast aside.”

The state’s first black governor said he thought much of Trump’s support came “from people who didn’t feel heard or seen” by others, and he said candidates can win by connecting with voters who feel left out.

In 2014, about half a year before Patrick left office, his former lieutenant governor and the running mate in his two successful campaigns hinted at a future White House run.

“I know we are not ready to close the books on Deval Patrick,” Tim Murray said at the Democratic convention in Worcester. “His time as governor may be winding down, but he isn’t finished listening, learning or leading. And perhaps some day in the not too distant future Deval Patrick will be listening and learning in the fields of Iowa and the hills of New Hampshire, asking all Americans to pursue the best in themselves and in each other.”


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