Deval Patrick is in. The former Massachusetts governor, responding to the fears of the Democratic establishment that the party’s aspirants are too left-wing and that its moderate standard-bearer, Joe Biden, is not up to the task of defeating Donald Trump, announced his candidacy for president in a video Thursday.
After filing for the primary in New Hampshire, Patrick told reporters, “I think we have to be about how we bring people in, how we bring people along, and how we yield to the possibility that somebody else or even some other party may have a good idea, as good or better than our own … That’s the kind of leadership I have brought to settings in the private sector and the public sector, the kind of leadership I want to bring right now.”
But perhaps the most telling of Patrick’s remarks Thursday came later. “I don’t think that wealth is the problem,” he said. “I think greed is the problem.”
Patrick joined Bain Capital, the private-equity firm co-founded by the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, after he left politics. He fulfills the hopes of those members of the Democratic establishment seeking a post-racial unifier who, unlike Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, isn’t inclined to soak the rich. But Patrick’s claim that America’s divisions are unconnected to levels of income inequality unseen since the Gilded Age is profoundly naive. Partisan polarization, and the vitriol that accompanies it, is closely tied to the politics of artificial scarcity that entrenched concentrations of wealth create.