Former President Barack Obama's "inner circle" is forming around a candidate for the 2020 Presidential election, but it looks like Obama and his top donors won't be backing former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden has emerged as a formidable force for Democrats, particularly against President Donald Trump, who appeals to the same blue-collar, working class, moderate Dems that Biden counts among his prime audiences. The former Veep certainly sees himself as the top Trump foil, even though he'll be pushing 75 by the time the next opportunity to challenge Trump at the ballot box rolls around.
But Democrats' options are limited. Bernie Sanders is too progressive (and far too old). Hillary Clinton will be running to complete her third official loss. Kamala Harris doesn't have the support of the Dem's more progressive wing, and neither does Elizabeth Warren (not to mention, the faux-Native American has plenty of skeletons in her closet and a limited appeal to Baby Boomer women). For his faults, Biden is almost the best option.
But according to sources close to Obama's inner circle, the former President fully intends to leave his Veep high and dry.
Obama's top donors and closest supporters are reportedly looking at former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick instead. Valerie Jarratt, the so-called "shadow president" who pulled most of the strings in Obama's Oval Office is, according to The Hill, leading the charge, and Patrick's name has been surfacing — suspiciously — in major publications, even as Clinton remains in the spotlight.
Patrick's most attractive quality may be that he's not well known outside of Massachusetts, except as one of Obama's close, personal allies; he was often mentioned as a possible replacement for Joe Biden in the months leading up to Barack Obama's re-election. And he has what Obama needs: a record of successfully implementing a major health care overhaul, which could save Obama's signature legislation.
But even as Obama's inner circle fawns over Patrick, satellite Democrats aren't so sure. Sanders's socialism was too powerful a force in 2016 to ignore, and Patrick is as "insider" and as "1%-er" as a presidential candiate gets. He worked for the Clinton administration as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights — a time in office he speaks of fondly, connecting him right to Establishment Democrats, and losing tickets. And after he left office, he worked for Bain Capital, the dastardly hedge fund management and investment firm founded by Mitt Romney.
Biden, of course, is as much of a risk as anyone. But at least he's never worked for Wall Street.