Evolve with Deval? Maybe — former governor brings edge to 2020 race

Shemuel Bacchus

One of the most saturated places in American politics right now is the field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to be President. If one wanted to count the amount of people vying for the position, they’d need more than ten fingers. There are candidates from virtually every corner of the nation — with political ideologies just as varied. If you want a candidate who is ready to roll back the Trump corporate tax breaks for instance, there is someone for you. 

Adding his name to this already stacked lineup is former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick. Gov. Patrick officially launched his bid for President on Nov. 14, traveling to New Hampshire with a thousand dollar check in hand to have his name placed on the ballot. 

For those searching for candidates who have billed themselves as non-Washington insiders, there are plenty to go around. With former mayors, current mayors, former service men and women, a former vice president and members of Congress, all that’s missing is a partridge in a pear tree. This brings to question, what makes Gov. Patrick any different from the 17 other candidates jockeying for the title? Surely, there are some radical differences between Gov.Patrick and the majority of candidates that has energized him into running. 

Regarding Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that may be the case. The governor is certainly making efforts to portray himself as a moderate alternative to former Vice President Biden, who has been faltering in the polls lately as well as a more experienced alternative to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is topping the latest Iowa polls. 

The reality is, there is not much traction for Gov. Patrick’s candidacy. He may believe that the American people are looking for a new voice, but it has been clear from the early stages of the Democratic race that the American people aren’t interested in such a congested field, as polling in New Hampshire have shown that voters are leaning toward a more liberal viewpoint in line with Sen. Warren and Sanders.

Governor Patrick so far has offered no real substantive policies that differ from the candidates who have already been campaigning for months now. When speaking at California’s Democratic Convention, Gov. Patrick spoke about “being woke while leaving room for the still-awakening,” Politico reported. For a candidate with this late a start, that might be his only move. Talking specifics is not going to gain him traction fast enough. 

Who Gov. Patrick is and what he believes in does not matter in the long run. His entering the race speaks not to his ability to effect change but instead, the underlying problem of American excess. 

“I want more” is one of the trademark outbursts parents hear from unruly children. Whether it’s more ice cream or more time to stay up late, the idea of never having enough is ingrained in everyone from childhood. Some experts cite the influence of friends in this desire for excess — “If they have it, why can’t I?”

As adults, the need for more takes on more subtle, nuanced forms. Perhaps the greatest forum for “I want more” is the American political system. Many politicians seek re-election over and over well into their very senior years.

That desire for more tends to lead to feelings of superiority once achieved. It is often the case that politicians claim to be the best person for the job. This is no doubt what Gov. Patrick believes and what all of the Democratic candidates believe. As a result, the “best person for the job” turns into “no one else can do the job.” There is an abundance of talent and genius in this nation, yet leaders are reluctant to step aside and let others rise to the occasion. 

This leads to an unprecedented number of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president. In a group of 18 lawmakers, public figures and others, there is a right choice. Who that person will be is up to the American people to decide. The sad truth is, whether the number of candidates balloons to 30 or shrinks to five, no candidate would willingly step aside and admit to another one being the better choice. 

It is that same self-serving interest that drives all of the candidates, including Gov. Patrick who has quite a few mountains to climb before he can even catch a glimmer of hope in being the nominee.