Not only am I proudly ready for Hillary, I’m also not for having her face a stiff challenge in the Democratic primary. The last thing this country needs is to have our best hope for keeping choice, rights, environmental protection and economic logic in place brutalized in a grueling primary, only to have the Republican National Committee, Fox and David Koch’s minions continue the assault on her in a general election.
Having said that, I do not gainsay the argument that Clinton might not be in touch with the progressive, populist zeitgeist of 2015-2016. I recognize that the folks who see Clinton as too centrist, too corporate and too compromising are totally credible. Ideally, we’d see a Clinton-Elizabeth Warren ticket, a pairing that would truly unify the Democratic coalition and give Clinton a competitive advantage on November 8, 2016.
However, Warren has made it clear that she’s not interested in running for President, and I doubt that she’s interested in the VP slot. Thus, Clinton will need a running mate that can stir progressive passion and represent the strongest philosophical force in the party (and the country). If not Warren, why not former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick?
During his two terms as governor, Patrick demonstrated a firm commitment to progressive principles, boldly defending marriage equality and working tirelessly to make Massachusetts a clean-energy titan. All the while, he kept the Bay State’s economy strong and healed the partisan wounds that Mitt Romney inflicted during his four grotesque, gay-bashing years as governor.
Patrick’s life story is profoundly inspiring: born into poverty on Chicago’s South Side, Patrick earned a scholarship to the prestigious Milton Academy in Massachusetts in 1970. He later graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law School (take that, Scott Walker!) and clerked for federal appeals court judge Stephen Reinhardt before battling institutionalized bias as a member of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. After several years at Boston’s now-defunct Hill and Barlow firm, Patrick was nominated by President Clinton as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1994; in that position, he defended affirmative action against a right-wing legal and ideological assault, and investigated a number of African-American church arsons that shocked America’s conscience. After leaving that position, Patrick worked to fix systemic racial-discrimination problems at Texaco and Coca-Cola, before launching his historic and successful effort to become the Bay State’s first African-American governor.
A passionate and compelling speaker, Patrick is every bit as qualified to serve in the VP role as Joe Biden and Al Gore were. He would be a bold voice for the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the dismissed, the discriminated against. He would not hesitate to condemn the malevolent forces driving right-wing politics and media. Most importantly, he would energize the same voting coalition that powered Obama to two historic victories.
A Clinton-Patrick ticket would seal the deal for the Democratic Party next year. Progressive voters would see a ticket that guarantees their values have a seat at the table of power. Moderate voters would see a ticket that will bring logic and reason to the most compelling issues of our time. Independent voters would see a ticket comprised of two intellectual powerhouses…and conservative voters would just see blurry images, obscured by the tears of defeat.