Deval Patrick. Who the hell is Deval Patrick?

Good question. You know it wouldn't surprise me if half the Democrats in America had no idea who Deval Patrick is.

Deval Laurdine Patrick is the former Governor of Masschussets. He's an African American graduate of Harvard Law School. And he's the latest democrat to join the race to become the next President of the United States.

America is just two and a half months from the Iowa caucuses. 79 days from the votes being cast as the Dems chose their candidate to take on Donald Trump... 79 days and still, there are people entering the race.


Of course, Deval Patrick is the longest of long shots for the candidacy, but the fact that a relatively respected, successful Democrat would deem it neccesary to throw his hat in the ring this late in the game, is symptomatic of the problems the party faces as it stares down next year's election.

Some might write it off as a response to the impeachment proceedings but it's far more likely Deval Patrick is more focused on his fellow democrats than on the President.

And the truth is, there is no one candidate who both energises the Democratic base and polls better than Trump in the states that really matter.

'Electability' is a word you're going to hear an awful lot over the next year. Because, of course, Donald Trump didn't win the popular vote. A majority of American voters supported Hillary Clinton. But Trump mastered the Electoral College. And that's all that really matters.

It doesn't matter if you win California by one vote or by ten million votes, you win the same number of electoral votes under the electoral college system. And so in order to beat Trump at his own game, the Democrats have to focus on those close states which he flipped in the last election. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan - this is the front line.

Elizabeth Warren is hugely popular with people on the far left. She's grown her support far more than anyone else throughout the Democratic primaries. But centrist voters don't like her. And Trump voters hate her. At this stage, even though she might be way more popular amongst democrats in big democratic states, it seems pretty unlikely she could win back Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan.

Bernie Sanders has a similar policy platform to Warren but he hasn't really grown his support base much throughout the primary campaign. Everyone who'd be tempted by the Bernie bus is already on the Bernie bus.

And then Joe Biden. He's the least exciting to the most excitable Democrat voters. He's the least likely of the frontrunners to have people queueing for hours for selfies, or to win over university campuses of young idealistic volunteers. But weirdly, the numbers still show that at the moment, he's probably the biggest threat to Trump in a general election.


It's a curious little quandry. So far at least, the candidates with the energy, with the zip and zest, with the ecstatic supporter bases and the big rallies, the candidates who most excite the democrats, are not the most electable candidates when it comes to a general election.

Which may come to explain why Deval Patrick reckons it's worth a crack this late in the game.

But I think it speaks to the defining problem in the Democrats' race.

Is it more important to choose a candidate who personally gets you going? Or more important to choose a candidate who the maths says can win? Unlike the Republicans, Democrat voters aren't so good at coalescing around a candidate after the primaries.

And never mind impeachment. If they can't sort their internal divisions, Trump will walk back in.