MA Gov. democrats who lost in midterms “didn’t stand for anything”
Today on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, as Democrats look to repair the damage from this year’s elections, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) offers his prescription for what ails his party, bridging America’s racial divide, and the nature of capitalism in America.
On the results of the midterm elections: “I think the reason in the outcome in the elections is because Democrats didn’t stand for anything. And the Democrats who lost are the ones who were saying, look, we’re just not as bad as the other guys and gals. I think that we are a party that believes in the American dream. We believe in the collaboration between government and the private sector to enable the American dream. ”
On the possible Democratic candidates in 2016 : “I’m a great admirer of Senator Warren, as I am of Secretary Clinton, and the others who are — who are circling around…”
On the recent protests across America: “They weren’t interested in engagement, because part of the point was to be disruptive. And I think it does beg some questions, what is it we’re trying to accomplish beyond disruption? Certainly, part of it is to make sure people understand just how broadly the concern lies around being understood, and not being fearful, either as unarmed black men or as police. And that huge chasm of misunderstanding between the two has got to be bridged.”
On being business friendly: ” I just don’t believe that markets solve every problem in everybody’s life. And I don’t think government solves every problem in everybody’s life. I think they have to work alongside each other. “
Full transcript after the jump.
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CROWLEY: Thousands of protesters gathered here in Washington Saturday for what organizers call a Justice for All March.
Demonstrators heard from the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GWEN CARR, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER: Our sons, you know, they may not be here in body, but they’re here with us in each and every one of you. If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do.
SAMARIA RICE, MOTHER OF TAMIR RICE: I want to thank the nation and the world for the support, because that’s the only way I’m standing up right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don’t have to tell not one single African-American about racial profiling, because you guys know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: A demonstration was also held in Boston this weekend, the hometown of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
And he joins me now.
Thank you so much for being here.
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It’s great to be with you, Candy.
CROWLEY: Good to see you.
PATRICK: Thank you for having me.
CROWLEY: For several months now, the question has been, will these horrific incidents lead to a movement? Will they be moments that lead to a movement, or are they just horrific moments that we look back and say, oh, what — whatever happened with that?
CROWLEY: What do you think?
PATRICK: Well, I hope they lead to a broader and deeper kind of understanding, you know, not just the much-vaunted conversation on race, but some real examination of the differences in the way people experience interactions with the police, the concerns that police have, the kind of fear that is out there in so many camps from so many different perspectives.
I’m hopeful, because I think we have had — we have had moments in our past where we were facing what seemed like insurmountable gulfs between us, black and white, and all kinds of other differences.
And, as a nation, we have rallied back around our ideals of equality and freedom and opportunity and fair play and taken big steps forward.
CROWLEY: But government can’t — if you look to the — if we’re looking at the government now in this — and you have talked a lot about neighborhoods and how that’s where it starts…
CROWLEY: … and community.
But if you look at the government, they can’t legislate un-fear. You know, they…
PATRICK: Well, it’s not — I don’t think it’s all about legislation and fairness.
I think there are — there are certainly responsibilities that government and government leaders have to take in terms of the appropriate training and preparation of law enforcement.
But there’s a — there’s a listening that we don’t do very well in the United States today. That’s not just in government. I think that’s in — among average citizens. And we’re going to have to listen a lot more closely to each other.
CROWLEY: What’s the goal, do you think? If this is — I mean, movements need to have goals…
CROWLEY: … whether it’s the Civil Rights Act in the ’60s or — and so what is the goal here?
PATRICK: Such a great question, because, you know, and yesterday in Boston, we had demonstrations as well. And I — we went to great lengths to try to connect with the organizers, to the extent they were organized, to get a sense of what they needed, so that we could accommodate the protests and respect — respect that right.
And they weren’t interested in engagement, because part of the point was to be disruptive. And I think it does beg some questions, what is it we’re trying to accomplish beyond disruption? Certainly, part of it is to make sure people understand just how broadly the concern lies around being understood, and not being fearful, either as unarmed black men or as police. And that huge chasm of misunderstanding between the two has got to be bridged.
CROWLEY: And there is — there’s issues, say, as just such a sort of broad group and you’re not really sure what groups are showing up to protest.
And movements need leaders. You know that. They need charismatic folks that can lead them. Do you think — and we have seen the Reverend Al Sharpton step into this role. Is he an appropriate person to take this over and try to make this into a more than a conversation or more than disruption?
PATRICK: I think there are going to be many leaders, and some probably who haven’t emerged yet, some very much happening at the grassroots. That’s a very strong kind of leadership.
And, by the way, that was a feature of the civil rights movement in the ’60s as well. We pay a lot of attention — and we should — to Reverend Dr. King and some of the other noted leaders, but, in fact, there was an awful lot of very strong leadership that came from the grassroots. And I think we will see that and have seen that in this movement as well.
CROWLEY: Let me move you on to the elections — Democrats got pretty well drubbed in the midterms — and moving forward.
CROWLEY: I read some of your comments about it, and you said that you felt the president had not been strong enough in pointing out what things had improved and how the economy had improved, and, you know, that there should have been more discussion about that, right? Would you say that…
PATRICK: I do believe that. I don’t think that was the reason for the outcome in the election.
CROWLEY: What was the reason?
PATRICK: I think the reason in the outcome in the elections is because Democrats didn’t stand for anything.
And the Democrats who lost are the ones who were saying, look, we’re just not as bad as the other guys and gals. I think that we are a party that believes in the American dream. We believe in the collaboration between government and the private sector to enable the American dream.
It’s a broad-based party. We are very specific about the things that we need to do economically and socially to enable people to get a toehold in the middle class and to hang on once they get there. And I think that that’s a very powerful story. It is around convictions. And when we tell it, we win.
CROWLEY: We are now seeing at least playing out in the Senate what many hope to see play out in the Democratic primary, which is a battle for sort of the Elizabeth Warren wing, the more progressive wing of the party, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, you know, vs. more mainstream.
And in many ways, this does mirror the Republicans, who have this fight about, well, the reason we lost the presidency is because we had the wrong candidate. They are moderates. We need to really — we need to go really more conservative.
CROWLEY: Now you’re hearing some Democrats going, we need to be more progressive here. We don’t need to be like Republicans.
So, they do seem to me to be mirror problems. All right, do you think the Democratic Party is more Elizabeth Warren…
CROWLEY: … or do you think it’s more a moderate vein?
PATRICK: Well, I love Senator Warren, but I have to tell you, I don’t think, Candy, in fairness, that it simplifies — it’s quite that simple.
I describe myself as a pro-growth — pro-growth progressive. We have at home been very disciplined about investing in education, in innovation and in infrastructure. We have done that together with the private sector, and we have emerged as number one in the nation in economic competitiveness.
CROWLEY: Are you business-friendly?
PATRICK: Of course I’m business-friendly.
CROWLEY: Because you know that’s an anathema sometimes to…
PATRICK: I was in business. That’s — you know, this is the only elective office I have ever — I have ever held. I’m a — I’m a capitalist. I say that without — without apology.
I just don’t believe that markets solve every problem in everybody’s life. And I don’t think government solves every problem in everybody’s life. I think they have to work alongside each other. And because we have been very disciplined and very collaborative and clear about our convictions, we have — we lead the nation in education, health care, energy efficiency, and economic competitive, entrepreneurial activity, and much, much more.
CROWLEY: There are no more Southern Democratic senators. Why is that?
PATRICK: That will change. Democrats…
CROWLEY: Why do you think they have been sort of run out, though?
PATRICK: Well, I don’t — you would have to ask Southerners about that.
I have spent a lot of time in the South. I know a lot of people in the South. And I mean not political people, just regular old folks who are, I think, also, just like people everywhere else in the country, willing to respond to those who come to public life with conviction and…
CROWLEY: And who respond to their problems.
PATRICK: Sure, absolutely.
CROWLEY: Because part of the — part of the..
PATRICK: And who listens.
Part of this, which is part and parcel of the same thing, right, listen and deal with their problems.
PATRICK: Right. Right.
CROWLEY: Because I think the question that is out there now, as we have talked so much about how can Republicans, you know, be a party if they don’t connect with other voters, with minorities and women, the question now to the Democratic Party is, do you think you can be successful if the Democratic Party cannot reach out to white males in particular and senior white voters, including those blue-collar, particularly men, with a non-college education?
You have lost them completely. West Virginia is pretty much Republican now.
PATRICK: You know what? I just — I just don’t buy that as a portrait of the future. And I will tell you why.
CROWLEY: But, for now, you have. And I’m wondering how you get them back.
PATRICK: Well, so I think that, you know, in Massachusetts, we’re frequently described as a reliably blue state.
In fact, we have more unenrolled independents than we do registered Democrats and registered Republicans combined. And I think that reflects what’s happening in the rest of the country, which is that most people aren’t buying 100 percent of what either party is selling. You know…
CROWLEY: So they sit at home.
PATRICK: They — and they — well, they stay home. That’s part of it. That’s a big, big part of it, by the way.
And if we don’t offer people something to vote for, rather than against, then I think more people will continue to stay home.
CROWLEY: I need a yes or no because I got to move on.
CROWLEY: Should Elizabeth Warren run for president this time around?
PATRICK: Well, that’s — don’t — you have to ask her that question.
CROWLEY: Yes, but what do you think?
PATRICK: But I — I’m a great admirer of Senator Warren, as I am of Secretary Clinton, and the others who are — who are circling around…
CROWLEY: You are a big help.
CROWLEY: That’s why you’re a politician.
PATRICK: No news today.
CROWLEY: Senator Deval Patrick, thank you so much for coming by. Good luck in your stint in private life. But I expect we will see you back.
PATRICK: Thank you. Thank you.
CROWLEY: Thank you, Governor.
PATRICK: And I wish you well. Thank you so very much for having me.
CROWLEY: I appreciate it so much. Thanks, Governor.