An end to Booker’s 2020 presidential prospects?  

The latest Monmouth University Poll shows New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer tied at 2 percent support among South Carolina Democrats.

Back in February, in one of my first InsiderNJ articles, I wrote a column entitled “Two factors propelling (Cory) Booker’s presidential prospects.”  The first factor is his positioning as an electable center-left United States Senator; the second is his ethnic status as an African-American who could attract a large African-American turnout, an absolute necessity for a Democratic presidential victory.  

As I stated in my article, however, Booker, 48, may face competition for the nomination from Deval Patrick, 61, the former Governor of Massachusetts and currently a Managing Director at Bain Capital.  The ideological and ethnic factors are likewise propelling a Patrick presidential boomlet.  As to who would prevail in a Booker-Patrick clash, I stated the following: 

“Ultimately, the outcome of a Booker-Patrick clash for the center-left slot in the Democratic 2020 presidential sweepstakes may well be determined by which of these two candidates would receive the endorsement of former President Barack Obama.” 

Last Tuesday, we received the answer to this question.  In a POLITICO article, it was reported that Obama himself and his inner circle are actively pushing Patrick to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

For right now, Patrick is reluctant to make the run.  I have little doubt, however, that under continuous entreaties from Obama and his inner circle, Deval Patrick will run – and win. 

Barack Obama is the most powerful and effective former president of my lifetime.  His endorsement alone will enable Patrick to triumph in the early primaries over all his prospective opponents: Booker, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren.  

Even more impactful is the impact Obama’s fundraising network, the best in the business, would have on the “money primary”, the outcome of early fundraising efforts.  Given his Bain Capital role, Patrick will have overwhelming Wall Street financial support.  For purposes of this column, I use the term “Wall Street” to refer to the entire investment community, not just those firms headquartered on Wall Street in New York, noting that Bain Capital, a Boston headquartered firm, does have an office in New York.  The combination of Obama network money and Wall Street money will enable Patrick to devastate his Democratic rivals in the money primary. 

With money, message, the Obama endorsement, and a stellar record of monumental achievement in the legal, political and financial worlds, Deval Patrick will roll to the Democratic presidential nomination.  He will defeat the then incumbent GOP president Mike Pence in the 2020 presidential election and take the oath of office as president on January 20, 2021. 

This does not mean the end for Cory Booker’s presidential aspirations.  He will only be 52 in 2021.  Booker should have many more opportunities to run for the White House.  

For New Jerseyans, there would be no small irony in a Deval Patrick presidential victory in 2020.  

For decades, the Republican Party has been described as “the party of Wall Street.”  Yet New Jerseyans face the prospect of a Democratic Wall Street governor in 2018, Phil Murphy of Goldman Sachs, and a Democratic president from the investment community, Deval Patrick of Bain Capital in 2021. 

Accordingly, the notion that the Republican Party is the party of Wall Street is no longer accurate.  Things have certainly changed since the presidential election of 1940, when the Republican candidate, Wendell Willkie, was labeled as “the barefoot boy from Wall Street!” 

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.

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