GOFFSTOWN — Can the dreams of the “woke” balance with the hopes of the still waking? According to former Massachusetts governor and now presidential hopeful Deval Patrick, the answer to that question is yes.
On Monday morning, Patrick went to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College for the New England Council’s latest session of Politics & Eggs, coming with the message that the experience he has gained as a governor and throughout his life is needed to provide lasting progress for all Americans.
Throughout the event, Patrick criticized what he saw as the “false choices” of “zero sum game” situations, in which a gain for one party means the opposing party suffers a loss. Patrick said he believes principles do not have to come at the cost of cooperation across the political spectrum, and said he has aimed to govern for all people in the past, not just those who voted for him.
“I don’t think you have to hate Republicans to be a good Democrat. I don’t think you have to hate conservatives to be a good progressive or to hate business to be a good social justice warrior any more than you have to grow up poor and stay poor to care about chronic poverty or hate police to believe that black lives matter,” he said. “I try to be the type of man who rejects false choices, not for the sake of tamping down disagreement or smoothing things over, but because the range of my life experience has taught me that so many of the choices we’re presented with in politics are in fact false.”
“I am proud to be a Democrat, but I am not running to be President of the Democrats,” he said.
In response to his late entry into the race, Patrick leaned on his governing experience and his desire to fight against these false choices.
In that vein, Patrick believes that progress in areas like eliminating carbon emissions is important, but that it must come with the support of segments of society that will be disrupted by those transitions, such as regions with strong ties to the coal mining industry.
“As I understand from folks who have been (in coal mining areas) and have told me, (local residents) feel very threatened by a carbon-free economy, and I understand that,” Patrick said. “But no one has said to them, ‘Why don’t we consider coal country as the center for this developing a portion of this sector? How about you have a stake in this future?’ Instead of the future is happening to them, we’re building this future together.”
Playing on the cliché on what he’d do on day one of his presidency, Patrick joked with League of Conservation Voters State Director Rob Werner that much of his first day would go toward finding the best route through the White House to his office, but re-entering the Paris Climate Accords would be another immediate concern.
As subsequent questions came from the crowd, Patrick continued to play on the joke of being too busy on day one with Werner’s request. In those days later in that first week as President, he would seek to address prescription drug prices, eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for judges and expanding health insurance coverage to provide greater access to mental health services, he said.
Patrick did not mention President Donald Trump directly during the event, indirectly mentioning the Trump administration in passing, most notably regarding border security. He said he believes Trump was indifferent toward solving issues related to border security and immigration so he could use those issues to stoke his base.
“It feels like the current administration would like to have the issue instead of a solution,” Patrick said.
Patrick said he believes that limited assistance for countries of origin, and draining racism out of discussions on immigration reform, are important, but that stopping migrants at the border is equally important.