I want to piggyback off the article Maryland Scramble Managing Editor Jon Shurberg wrote yesterday about former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; who announced he was suspending his campaign for president after a disappointing (to say the least) finish in the Iowa Caucuses.
He had all of the tools a candidate could possibly want to run for president in the democratic primary. He is young, a relatively new face to national Democrats, he racked up a number of progressive victories as Governor of Maryland on hot button issues like minimum wage, a state version of the DREAM Act, and offshore wind farms. And not to get too superficial, he just looks like a president.
I won’t go too far into the “what happened?” topic, but I will say I basically agree with what Jon said. O’Malley’s “run slightly to the left as the anti-Hillary” strategy was torpedoed once Bernie got into the race. With Bernie winning the hearts of the liberal base and Clinton winning over the pragmatic establishment crowd, O’Malley wound up as a hybrid of the two and a candidate without a constituency.
However, I do want to pivot to another thought I had about Maryland’s former governor. Yes, O’Malley was a lower-tier candidate in this race. But it is only because of his poll numbers. Many of the ideas he ran on typically come from top of the line candidates.
His energy policy on how to combat climate change by getting our carbon emissions down to zero percent by 2050 was ambitious, realistic, and far more than what Clinton or Sanders proposed. And from what I can remember, he was the only candidate in the race who consistently spoke about climate change as a major economic opportunity for the United States. Sanders and Clinton mostly talk about how big of a problem it is.
O’Malley was the only candidate who talked about reinvesting in our cities. I’m not sure why other democrats don’t talk about this. Cities are economic engines in many states and at the same time, ground zero for many problems facing the county as a whole. Racial tensions and poverty are just two examples. Not only that, they are filled with tons of democratic voters. Why wouldn’t we want to heavily invest in cities all across the country?
Now, take those ideas and compare them to the ideas and statements of the lower polling GOP candidates in the primary race. Heck you can compare them to the GOP frontrunners too.
Rick Santorum, along with every other GOP candidate currently in the race, doesn’t believe climate change even exists. He still fighting the war on same sex marriage, and opposed a UN Treaty that directed other countries to match our laws banning discrimination against people who are disabled. His reason? The treaty was a direct threat to our sovereignty.
Mike Huckabee, another warrior against same sex couples having the gall to ask for equal rights, has blamed school shootings on the removal of God from our public education, has compared gun control proposals to Nazi Germany, and only seems to talk about violence in the Middle East when it pertains to Christians being killed. I mean, who cares about all of the Muslims being killed by terrorists, right?
Carly Fiorina, in front of a national debate audience, described a video she saw where people at Planned Parenthood stood a fetus demanding the harvest of its brain while the heart was still beating and the legs still twitching. Scary stuff. Except the tape doesn’t exist. She made it up. Though that didn’t stop her from doubling down on her statement after she was called on her lie.
She also gave us, well, this. Presidential, no?
People are going to mock O’Malley because of his poor finish. Probably a lot of Democrats too. One thing these Democrats should keep in mind is, this was our worst performing candidate in Iowa. When you contrast him with the craziness coming from the GOP squad, also-rans and frontrunners alike, it kind of makes you proud to be a Democrat. Or it least it should.
It’s pretty clear which party represents intelligent, substantive policy ideas and which party does not. Things did not go well for Martin O’Malley. But he represented himself, and his party, very well throughout his campaign.