Aside from Biden and Sanders (who got kid-gloves treatment in a race he was never expected to win), the rest of the favorite names bandied about as Democratic contenders have not experienced the constant scrutiny that comes when they run for president. If you haven’t run before, the next best thing might to be to staff up with people who have operated winning campaigns. It will be interesting to see who on the Obama team wants to try to make it two for two.
Just as any of the Democrats contemplating a run in 2020, Patrick — if he chooses to get in — will have to defend his record, fight for attention in a crowded field and contend with a stream of invectives and barbs from Trump (if he’s still around). He will need to fend off attacks from the left on his tenure at Bain Capital. Most of all, he will need to put forth a unifying, optimistic vision that excites both the Democratic base and, eventually, the general electorate.
He has slowly been increasing his visibility (at AIPAC; in Alabama campaigning for Sen. Doug Jones). Beyond that, it would do him (and frankly all candidates) well to use time when scrutiny is low to travel, brush up on foreign policy and come up with a forward-looking agenda that is more than just a list of government programs. The 2020 election seems eons away, but the race will effectively begin the day after the midterm elections in November. And, you know, Election Day a mere 243 days away.