White Patrick = frontrunner?

Interesting question raised in today's column by the Globe's Adrian Walker: if Deval Patrick were white, would he be the favorite in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination? Patrick thinks so, apparently:

Patrick himself is part of the conspiracy of silence. To his credit, race isn't what his campaign is about. He said a veteran legislator told him recently that he would be the unquestioned front-runner in the campaign, if he were white.
I'm skeptical. True, the question of whether a black man can actually get elected governor in Massachusetts has been hovering in the margins of Patrick's campaign from the beginning. Then again, my sense is that Patrick's race is actually a plus for many of his die-hard supporters, and that they might not be as excited about his campaign if he were a white guy who'd grown up poor, attended Harvard, and gone on to high-powered careers in government and the private sector.

Walker's right: this issue deserves to be discussed openly. So have at it, people.

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