Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, with private equity firm Bain Capital until today and a one-time executive at Texaco and Coca-Cola, is the latest candidate to throw his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has signaled he’ll join the race and, though it seems laughable and unlikely, Hillary Clinton is saying she’s been considering running as well due to “enormous pressure.” (Though she failed to identify where that mysterious pressure was coming from.)
Patrick is close to Barrack Obama, who in 2012 used Mitt Romney’s role at Bain, which Romney founded, to paint him as a candidate of the elite. “When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, your job is not simply to maximize profits,” Obama said. “Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”
These late nominees have views largely indistinguishable from many of the “moderate,” most pro-corporate candidates already in the race, or who have already dropped out due to lack of support. Their wing of the party is in a panic because their preferred candidate, Joe Biden, is falling in national and key state polls.
Their chief backup, Pete Buttigieg, has raised over $50 million and is climbing in the polls, but the odds of him winning the nomination are extremely remote.
A lot of media commentary about Bloomberg and Patrick entering the race has warned that they could pull votes — and more importantly convention delegates — from Biden and Buttigieg, and increase the chances that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren wins the nomination. “A Bloomberg candidacy would be an in-kind contribution to the Warren and Sanders campaigns,” New York magazine said a few days ago in an article titled “Michael Bloomberg’s Ego Is an Agent of Socialist Change.”
Neither Sanders nor Warren are radicals, rather obviously, but they are unacceptable to the Democratic establishment. (Sanders is anyway; with each passing day, Warren appears to be trying to reassure party insiders that they have nothing to fear from her.)
Anyway, it would take a miracle for Bloomberg or Patrick (or Clinton or any other late entrant) to win the nomination. So what are they up too? I’m guessing but it seems to be they’re running in the hopes of keeping the Democratic field divided, and lead to a brokered convention at the Democratic Convention next July.
That would allow the Democratic superdelegates — 769 “distinguished” party leaders and insiders who can vote at the convention for whatever candidate they choose independently of primary and caucus outcomes — to play a potentially large role at the convention.
After the superdelegates helped screw Sanders in 2016, the DNC instituted “reforms” last year. It shot down a proposal to eliminate superdelegates but adopted a rule that prevents them from voting at the convention, but only if no one wins on the first ballot. But if that doesn’t happen, the superdelegates are allowed to vote in succeeding rounds, which means, theoretically, they could pick the nominee.
Like I said, I’m just guessing and inside political baseball is not my strongpoint, but it’s hard to believe that Bloomberg and Patrick are launching completely long shot candidacies in order to help Sanders or Warren win.