Top Obama Allies Are Ready To Support A Deval Patrick Presidential Campaign

“Everybody’s mad, and I’m mad, too,” he added. “We cannot just be chief critic. We have a positive alternative.”

Patrick is already tracing the broad contours of a national vision through speeches and interviews. He divides a proposed agenda into three buckets: democracy, opportunity, and reform. He thinks democratic systems can be strengthened by making it easier for Americans to participate through ideas like automatic voter registration, and finding solutions to big problems like campaign finance and gerrymandering. The opportunity bucket includes a vision for expanding the economy that focuses on preparing Americans to adapt to the future of. He thinks any Democratic agenda needs pushes for bold advances to the health care, immigration, and criminal justice systems.

He just doesn’t want it to be his message. He told BuzzFeed News he wanted Democrats to go back to being the party of hopefulness. “I don’t want us to have our justifiable and even righteous anger to be our sole or even chief [motivation]. I want us to have something to say after that. Because we’re going to win the House. I hope we win the Senate. And I hope in 2020, we’ll win the White House. And then what? We have to have a plan for what it is we’re going to do when we win these institutions to restore faith in democracy and a path forward for the people…” He said the words “unseen” and “unheard” again, then added: “and stuck.”

Part of that, for Patrick, is moving beyond 2016. In August, Patrick bristled at a question at the Texas Tribune Festival about what he felt Hillary Clinton did wrong in 2016. “Aren’t we done with that?” Patrick said he worried the “main thing we will do as a party is figure out how not to make the mistake that was made the last time and try to do everything else the same. I don’t think that everything is the same. If there were any rules, those rules have all been blown up.” A few minutes later, Patrick was flustered by a question by Kimberly E. Atkins, the Boston Herald’s Washington bureau chief. She stood to ask Patrick two questions: Does he think he’s the type of person Democrats who say they want a fighter are talking about, and if not, who is? At first, Patrick answered, “I don’t know and I don’t know.”

He then turned to an alliterative line he frequently uses to fend off 2020, saying he isn’t sure there is a place for him in the next presidential primary contest and that it’s hard to see how you fit in a big Democratic field if one is not “shrill, sensational, or a celebrity.” When he said it, the reporter interviewing snickered. Then Patrick turned the forum into a one-on-one talk with Atkins, a clear indication the question touched something off inside of him.

I can solve problems and I have...I can build bridges...and I have. And we do need a healing. And whether, you know, that comes as a candidate or in some other way, I think those are all contributions that we need as a nation. I totally — look, it’s not that I’m not angry enough. To hit and kick. I’ve been in these situations before. People are funny. They act — I think we talked about this once before, you know, you got all saditty and went off to DC — that sometimes people act like my life began when I got that scholarship through ABC and went on to Milton Academy...they forget that, you know, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. But I don’t forget that I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. I — I still have a little attitude. I know how to keep it in check. But I also know how to summon it when I need to.

I’m thinking — I think as people, frankly, like you and me (he moved his hands to suggest their shared blackness then held them up as if to shrug) have to [think] about then what? Because sometimes when you pick a fight, you have to know that sometimes you’re picking a fight with people you’re going to have to work with the next day. And you want a relationship with someone you have to work with the next day. And, uh, I spent a lot of years making those kinds of calculations. Not always right, but making those kinds of calculations.

Patrick wasn’t just talking about what growing up Chicago taught him about toughness. His memoir references the “transplanted southern enclave, with its indigenous economy, neighbors who watched over the children, and institutions that craved order,” that he wrote had been rendered into a “wasteland of charred buildings and restlessness” in the absence of community, a reality today he feels people are experiencing all over the country. “The experience of the steel mills on the South Side leaving communities with economic uncertainty and anxiety in their wake is very familiar to me from home,” he told BuzzFeed News.

People who want to see Patrick run see empathy, not combativeness, as the key. This is where those people start eliminating possible candidates like Joe Biden (who literally said he wants to take Trump out behind a barn to kick his ass), Michael Avenatti (do Democrats really want a daily Twitter war in the race for the president of the United States?), and Elizabeth Warren (“if you can be provoked into Pocahontas fights and DNA tests, then you don’t belong in this race,” said one well-known Democrat who would also support Patrick. “You can’t beat a pig in a wrestling match. They like mud”).

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