Deval Patrick: Democrats Offering Only Nostalgia or 'Our Own Version of Anger' | New Hampshire Public Radio

Deval Patrick: Democrats Offering Only Nostalgia or 'Our Own Version of Anger'

Jan 10, 2020


Credit Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The former two-term Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who filed for the New Hampshire primary a day before the deadline, says he felt the need to jump into the presidential race because he offers a different approach – and not just from President Trump.


“I've been concerned that we have been offering, and this is a gross generalization, but either nostalgia, meaning we'll just get rid of, as they say, President Trump and go back to doing what we used to do, which is not what we need right now,” Patrick said on The Exchange. “Or our version of anger and division instead of theirs, which I also think sort of misses the moment. And so I think there is still a path.”


(For the full conversation, visit here.)


Patrick also sees his mix of government and private sector experience as distinguishing him from all other Democratic candidates, many of whom he calls “friends.”


After leaving office in 2015, Patrick joined Bain Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by Mitt Romney. Bain had been harshly criticized by his political ally, Barack Obama, years ago for buying and selling companies at the expense of workers, but Patrick, who did not work there at that time, says his work in recent years has involved investing in businesses for social and environmental good.


“And the reason I did that is because I wanted to prove that this notion of having to trade financial return for social responsibility was a false choice,” he said.


Before entering politics, Patrick also worked for Texaco and Coca-Cola, ties that could raise doubts among a sizeable portion of the Democratic electorate, which favors raising corporate taxes and increasing regulations. Both have been a rallying cry among many Democratic candidates. Patrick says he agrees.


“Taxes should go up,” he said. “Business has a lot to answer for. The capitalism we've practiced in the United States for 40 years is very short-term, very shareholder focused.”


As governor, Patrick's top issues included pension reform, casino legalization, transportation and education reform. (Read The Boston Globe's rundown of Patrick's “highs and lows” during his tenure.)


Turmoil in the Middle East


Patrick said the U.S. has the right to protect its interests anywhere, at anytime. “But I think that right has to be bound by certain norms, international norms, by law and by forethought, he said. “One reason I've been so concerned about events of the last several days is that we have a leader who has shown absolutely no interest in those boundaries, doesn't seem interested in thinking ahead a step or two about the consequences of his actions on our own interests, on our men and women in the military, or our allies, for that matter.”


Trump officials have defended their actions in Iraq, which included the killing of a top Iranian General, who they said was planning future attacks on U.S. interests in the region. However, both Republican and Democratic leaders have since questioned the justification for the attack after an intelligence briefing they called highly unsatisfactory.


Diversity among candidates and in the early voting states.


As one of the few remaining candidates of color, none of whom are likely to meet criteria for the next debate, Patrick says he's not so concerned about participating in the debates – he has found them “sub par,” in any case. But he does think it's worth examining the format, including the criteria established by the DNC, given the exclusion of candidates of color. And he thinks money plays a distorting role, as well. Patrick has meanwhile said he will accept super PAC money.


New Hampshire has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism for maintaining a prominent place in the primary lineup, despite its lack of diversity. Former HUD secretary Julian Castro, for instance, who dropped out of the race recently, called for a change in the lineup, saying New Hampshire and Iowa do not reflect the diversity of the United States or the Democratic Party. “And I believe other states should have their chance.”


Patrick did not seem concerned about that.


“I love New Hampshire, and I love the primary here. It's very intimate.I've been to I don't know how many house parties or smaller forums, just meeting with groups of interested voters and voters expect that of you. They engage. They are informed.“