What are you doing, Deval Patrick?

Liz Whitmer, Senior Writer

Another week, another Democrat. Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick has recently entered the presidential race, only three months before the Iowa caucus, and his effectiveness is being widely debated.

Patrick is now one of 17 Democrats in the race for 2020; however, he did not qualify for the November debate and will be hard-pressed to qualify for the one taking place in December. In fact, he almost didn’t make it onto the New Hampshire ballot for the primary election. This late entry causes one to ask Patrick, “What are you doing?”

Patrick is a moderate candidate, but so is former Vice President Joe Biden, a frontrunner in many polls for the upcoming primary elections. He claims to be running on more than just the prospect of beating U.S. President Donald Trump next November, though that message will be difficult to convey without much air time during debates if he isn’t able to qualify. As a new candidate, Patrick is not blind to these challenges. He has made it known that he is on an extremely compressed schedule and his announcement of entering the race was even made quite hastily.

However great of a candidate he may be, Patrick is becoming a distraction to those who stand a legitimate chance at the DNC nomination. His policies will be glossed over and name recognition will be essentially impossible to achieve in such a short span of time, as he is not an already well-known figure to most Americans.

At this point, people have heard of the big names — e.g., Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren — but there is also a level of recognition for people who have made it onto the debate stage even though they are not polling as well, like Julián Castro, Amy Klobuchar and even Andrew Yang.  American voters have been tuning in to the debates, reading the news and staying updated on new policy proposals made by prospective DNC nominees. By now, most people know who they want to see going up against Trump — there is even already a Yang campaign sign outside a house a few blocks off Market Street — and Patrick is just a little too late to make that mark.

Not only are Patrick’s efforts coming too late in the game, giving him an almost impossible disadvantage to overcome, but he is also taking time away from those who have been around for months and garnered legitimate support from members of the party. Seventeen Democrats may mean there is someone to cater to the needs of practically everyone, but it also means the voters are split in a multitude of different directions when nearly half of the candidates are not even featured in debates.

This means public support, speaking time during debates — if they even make it that far — and donations are split into as many ways as there are candidates. If the Democratic party wants to get serious about beating Trump and doing well in the years to follow, now is the time for people to drop out and start backing those who actually stand a chance rather than jumping in at the last minute.

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