Politics

Obama advisers are urging Deval Patrick to run in 2020

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick seems to be enjoying life in the private sector — but could a return to politics be in his future?
Aram Boghosian for the Boston Globe
Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick seems to be enjoying life in the private sector — but could a return to politics be in his future?

Will former Mass. governor Deval Patrick throw his hat into the ring as a candidate for president in 2020? Members of former president Barack Obama’s inner circle are trying to nudge Patrick toward a yes, according to a Politico interview.

In a story published on Tuesday, the publication spoke to Obama strategist David Axelrod and advisor Valerie Jarrett about a possible Patrick run in 2020.

Axelrod said he has spoken to Patrick, now at Bain Capital, about it, and rattled off to Politico the list of advantages the former Massachusetts governor would have on the national stage: “small-town campaign experience from his 2006 gubernatorial run that will jive 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.”

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Jarrett told Politico that a President Patrick is what “my heart desires.’”

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The publication quoted one former senior White House aide that said “If you were to poll 100 notable Obama alumni, the only two people who would win that 2020 straw poll right now are [Joe] Biden and Patrick.”

So what does Patrick himself have to say about the matter?

“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 Politico.

But on the topic of President Trump, Patrick is less evasive.

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“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,” Patrick said in the interview. “I think there is a risk both domestically, and internationally for that matter, that we’ll begin to tune him out.

“Nostalgia —that’s what Trump was selling, right? His tag line was on the ‘again.’ You know, saying to communities, whose factories have left, that the solution is to bring that factory back. It may not actually be the most constructive, or even honest, pitch to make.”

Politico noted that Patrick first ran for governor following the 2004 presidential campaign, “feeling that it was his time to step up. People who know Patrick well say they feel like Trump’s election spoke to him in a powerful way.”

Powerful enough to enter the race? Only time will tell.

Rob DeCola can be reached at robert.decola@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @robdecola.