Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why I Am a Martin O'Malley Supporter

So you're probably wondering why I have eschewed neutrality in the Democratic presidential primary and have decided to support a candidate who polls in the low single digits.  I could make all the obvious arguments for a Martin O'Malley Presidency by pointing to his record as governor of Maryland - he pushed through stricter gun control laws, backed marriage equality, and improved public education - and, in fact, I have.  But that's not the only reason why I'm an O'Malley supporter.  The biggest reasons have to do with his tenacity and his devotion to getting things done.
He is a dedicated public servant who not only takes credit for his accomplishments but takes the blame for his mistakes and defends his least popular policies.  When race riots erupted in Baltimore earlier this year, O'Malley, a former mayor of Baltimore who was known for his emphasis on tough policing, immediately came home from Ireland and stood in the heart of the riot zone as a private citizen to talk to the mostly black residents of the area.  He took a lot of flak from them, with some folks being downright hostile to him.  He knew his mayoral administration's tough policy towards criminal justice were unpopular in the poor black neighborhoods of Baltimore, but he did what he did because he wanted to reduce the violence, and it broke his heart that everything he tried to do to make his city safer for all Baltimore residents went awry and led to Freddie Gray's death.  This is why it seemed ironic for him to apologize for telling "Black Lives Matter" supporters that all lives matter, thus missing the point of the movement's message.  Unlike Republicans who say "All lives matter" as a dodge to avoid dealing with  the issue of blacks disproportionally dying at the hands of law enforcement, when Martin O'Malley says that all lives matter, he means it.  And just to make it clear that he now understands the "Black Lives Matter" movement, he referred to it definitively in his speech to the Democratic National Committee on August 28 (below).
And, despite his low poll ratings, Marty is still fighting.  He doesn't give up.  He's being told he can't win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but he keeps pegging away, moving slowly and steadily.  He's not paying attention to naysayers making fun of him and telling him to quit.  Marty doesn't quit.  He's visiting every county in Iowa.  He's meeting voters all over New Hampshire.  He'll win every vote one voter at a time if he has to.  He's also putting pressure on the Democratic National Committee and its chair, Hillary stooge Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to have more debates so the Democrats can join the political discourse rather than let the Republicans dominate it.  A presidential candidate who doesn't give up will be a President who doesn't give up.    
You can say all this about Bernie Sanders, and some might even find the same qualities in Hillary Clinton, and right now both of them are in a dead heat in the Iowa polls with Sanders pulling ahead in New Hampshire.  That's good for O'Malley.  When the money is split between the favorites, you bet on the long shot.  
We need a progressive President, and with the Republicans too far to the right and independent candidacies a waste of time, it has to be a progressive Democrat.  Hillary (like President Obama) is a Democrat but not a progressive.  Bernie is a progressive but not a Democrat - he can't win the presidential nomination of a party he doesn't belong to.  (He's an independent.)  Marty is both a progressive and a Democrat.  He's the only logical choice. He's also a candidate that gives me something to vote for - a better country to live in - rather than vote against.  We need a President who advocates as well as accentuates the positive.  I've given up on the political process.  I don't expect anything more from Obama at this point, I don't write my representatives in Congress anymore, and I don't sign petitions anymore.  For awhile I made the occasional exception and signed the odd petition or two when I felt that the situation called for an exception, but I don't even do that anymore.  I have no desire to get involved in the political process unless we have a President who can make me believe in it again.  Only one person can do that.  That person is Martin O'Malley.
I'm for Marty to the end.  If Joe Biden decides to run, I wish him well, but I'm sticking with Marty.  I, like many others, wrote O'Malley urging him to run, and so I'm not going to abandon his candidacy for anyone. As for what I can do to help the O'Malley campaign, well, it's like this . . . I can't afford to donate money, I live in a state whose late primary is certain to be irrelevant, and I can't go to Iowa or New Hampshire to help the O'Malley ground campaign, but I have social media, and I have my blog, and by gum, I'm going to use both to help spread the word for Marty as much as I can!

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