Last updated 11/14/2019 at 9:43 a.m. ET.
This question is particularly acute for Patrick because, although he has always been thought of as a potentially strong presidential candidate, on economic issues his profile is not exactly built to warm the hearts of the Democratic base.
"I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field", said Patrick. Or: "It's our way, our big idea or no way", Patrick told CBS News. He said he was determined "to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American dream for the next generation".
"This time is about the character of the country", he said in the video. Even 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton this week said in a BBC interview that she is "under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it", adding that she has no such plans but still would "never, never, never say never".
The Harvard-trained lawyer and two-term former governor was a managing director of the Boston investment firm Bain Capital. He resigned, he said, when company officials refused to authorize an independent investigation of the allegations.
Patrick served as MA governor for two terms, from 2007 to 2015, making him the second elected black governor in USA history.
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With former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg still teetering on a decision to join the race, at least one late-entrant has chose to give it a go.
Besides the challenge of joining the race so late in the election cycle, Patrick faces other significant hurdles, like fundraising and low national name recognition.
"With our political climate, I think someone more moderate will be our next president because the nation has just seen what it was like from one extreme viewpoint and they're not ready to swing it that far again, especially in the opposite direction", Resnick said. He is entering too late to participate in Democrats' upcoming debate in Atlanta, and the December debate in Los Angeles will have the strictest polling and donor qualifying thresholds yet. Should billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg jump in, he would immediately be in Patrick's lane, and have a lot more resources for his campaign.
Like former President Barack Obama, Patrick grew up on the south side of Chicago with his mother and grandmother.
The former governor also told The Globe that he had spoken with Obama, and the former president had offered him advice. In his announcement, Patrick outlined his reasons for launching a last-minute presidential bid, saying he was running for people who "feel left out" and want a future "not built for you but built with you". It's also uncertain whether Patrick, who was the first black governor of MA, will be seen by African American voters as the heir to Obama's legacy.
After turning his career to the private sector - he worked as general counsel at Texaco and later took a top position at Coca-Cola - he won the governorship in 2006 as a political outsider with grass-roots support from progressives.