Monday, February 1, 2016

This Is Not an Organizational Problem

Indications are, as Iowa Democratic voters go to their presidential caucus meetings tonight, that Martin O'Malley is not only going to lose big time, he won't even come in third because he will lack the necessary 15 percent of the vote to be considered a viable candidate.  Hey, he can't organize voters he doesn't have.
So here's the deal.  Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders hope to go to the caucuses and convince O'Malley supporters that their candidate has no chance of winning and thus go with either Hillary or Bernie (O'Malley supporters convincing others to join them? highly implausible).  Even if it turns out that O'Malley had enough supporters to gain delegates in spite of what the polls have been saying, it won't matter if Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters convince O'Malley supporters to just give up and go elsewhere.  Both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns have already begun competing for O'Malley supporters ahead of the caucuses, like vultures feeding off a wounded animal that hasn't died yet.  O'Malley's efforts to inspire his supporters to "hold strong" and maintain his viability have been met more with ridicule than respect, and people in the media are almost gleeful to see him go down swinging (like Sonny Liston).
If there's any good news in all of this - and believe me, I know I'm stretching it here - it's that the majority of O'Malley's supporters in Iowa would in fact go for Sanders as their second choice.   And as I've noted, Sanders just happens to be my second choice - so repulsed am I at the thought of Hillary as the Democratic nominee.  But, even though the caucus results have yet to be known as I publish this, I'm pretty bitter about the lack of attention the press have given O'Malley for the last eight months.  It long ago got to the point where I appreciated negative press attention for O'Malley, because at least then he was getting some attention.  It now turns out, as Alex Seitz-Wald reported on MSNBC's Web site, that the media and the other Democratic presidential candidates have been treating him with contempt, disrespect and ridicule ever since he declared his candidacy.  If you're a presidential candidate, good press will make you a hero, as the press received by Barack Obama, Sanders, and even Hillary has proven.  Bad press, like the kind O'Malley's mentor Gary Hart received in the wake of the sex scandal that destroyed his political career, will make you a martyr.  No press, however, will make you anonymous.  Which is exactly how Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of course, wanted it for Martin O'Malley.
And don't give me that guff about how O'Malley, at 53, is young enough to try again in 2020 or 2024, because the truth is that very few Democratic presidential candidates have made second and/or third tries for their party's nomination in the forty years between Hubert Humphrey's final, feeble bid in 1976 and Hillary's current, second try.  Of those few, only Gore actually won the nomination, but then he had his 2000 general election victory stolen from him, never to run again.  And considering the multiple tries various Republican presidential candidates have made for the White House in that same time frame, that's all far more than merely annoying.  If he doesn't do well in either Iowa or in the New Hampshire primary - to be held on the day before Ash Wednesday - O'Malley, good Catholic that he is, will have to give up his presidential ambitions for Lent . . . and beyond.
Marty can't get a break.  His outreach to immigrants' groups have been overshadowed by his tough law enforcement policies as mayor of Baltimore, which have made him unpopular among black voters.  When he's tried in debates to explain the health care policy he pursued as governor of Maryland, he's been blown off by the moderators.  Despite his impressive record, he remains the least known and the least respected Democratic presidential candidate of 2016.  I'm only sorry that personal problems (by the way, my car is repaired, and I got it back!) have kept me from doing more for the campaign than promoting it online, like calling Iowa voters in advance of tonight's caucuses.  Well, if the Democrats want to nominate Hillary, let them.  Then in November, they'll go down swinging (like Tommy Dorsey).    
I, for one, will be writing in someone else. 

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