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With Harris & Booker polling single digits, Mass. ex-governor Deval Patrick joins 2020 race to salvage minority vote

With Harris & Booker polling single digits, Mass. ex-governor Deval Patrick joins 2020 race to salvage minority vote
Former Massachusetts governor and private equity fund manager Deval Patrick has jumped into the 2020 presidential race, his run a signal that the other establishment-friendly minority Democrats have crashed and burned.

Patrick announced his candidacy on Thursday, just three months before the start of primary season in Iowa. In an announcement video that avoids taking any strong stances on issues, he calls for moderation and healing, serving up a warmed-over slice of hope-and-change rhetoric that might trigger déja vu in voters who remember Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.

The two-term governor just left his post at Bain Capital on Wednesday – the private equity firm founded by another corporate centrist governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney – and his opposition to a wealth tax, Medicare for All, and other leftist policies put forth by his rivals comes as no surprise, given his coziness with the ultra-rich. Republicans have already started playing up his plutocratic credentials, dubbing him "Mr. Bain" in an email sent to supporters on Thursday, and he faces an uphill battle for relevance, with a field already packed full of business-friendly centrists.

But with the other establishment-approved minority candidates – California Senator Kamala Harris and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker – both languishing in single digits polling-wise, Patrick seems to embody the party's last great hope to nail down the minority vote.

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Patrick is good friends with Obama and told the Boston Globe he had asked the former president for advice on Wednesday, before throwing his hat into the ring. Some have already speculated his candidacy means he has the endorsement of the country's first (and so far, only) black president. If so, it would represent a major strike against the candidacy of Obama's vice president Joe Biden, whose flagging campaign has already inspired one billionaire – New York ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg – to enter the race.

Patrick's candidacy met with a less than enthusiastic response from his target audience, however. Just a few hours after his announcement, he was savagely ratioed as people brought up his fundraising (mostly big donors), his record (defending big corporations against allegations of human rights abuses, then securing enormous tax breaks for big corporations as governor), and his connections (Republican donor Roland Arnall, who made millions by shackling inner-city homeowners to toxic subprime mortgages).

Others focused on what was missing – whether that was a discernible foreign policy, or the Democratic Party's 2012 hatred of Bain Capital.

Even some "vote blue no matter who" types expressed discontent, suggesting Patrick "misunderstands the moment" and pointing out his admitted lack of policy positions.

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