The Democrats are convinced that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican presidential nominee, and they're equally convinced that Hillary Clinton will be theirs . . . and that she is so poised, knowledgeable and confident that she's a sure winner, and the Donald can't stop her.
Not so fast, says Martin O'Malley.
The former mayor of Baltimore and former governor of Maryland said that the confidence of Democratic insiders is mostly Capital Beltway smugness that doesn't acknowledge the growing, festering anger toward the political elites and that the election is not a "slam-dunk" for the Democrats.
"We have our work cut out for us, both in calling out [Trump's] fascism with clarity, without being shrill, without being angry ourselves," O'Malley said of the Democrats at a public policy forum at Georgetown University. "Just as importantly, we have to tell the larger story of how these decisions we make together will affect your lives and your kids' lives."
I agree. I also agree with O'Malley's assertion that the Democratic National Committee's decision to limit presidential debates cost the party dearly in terms of exposure and being able to compare the candidates' records with Trump, and now the party has to play catch-up with the Republicans. Only now they have to do it with a flawed presidential candidate that a conniving party chairwoman promoted by tipping the scales against said candidate's opponents for the nomination . . . including O'Malley.
O'Malley, by the way, now admits that he knew he would never be the nominee once Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the debate schedule in August; when he saw it, he realized he would never get the exposure he would need to pull the same sort of upset in the primaries that his mentor Gary Hart did in 1984. (Does that mean I was taken in when I stuck with O'Malley? No, because I was hoping against hope that he could still prevail unexpectedly, and quite frankly, so was he.) He all but tipped his hat to Bernie Sanders for his incredible staying power. But even with Sanders as the only competitor of Hillary Clinton in the primaries and the caucuses, the Democratic establishment is still pulling its tricks for Hillary, if the voter misregistration and the long lines during the Arizona primary are any indication.
So what will the party's reaction to O'Malley's assessment be? Probably a shrug and a "pffft!" Because no one in the Democratic Party cares what O'Malley thinks. That would be a grave mistake. Because, you see, there are lot of white working-class people out there - the same people whom Democrats have basically ignored over the years - who feel that no one cares about their situation and are easy prey for a "racist carnival barker" (as O'Malley puts it) like Donald Trump to take them in. They have what I call "rapper envy" - the tendency to, while watching one of the entertainment gossip TV shows that comes on after the national news but before prime time, see rappers travel the world with their glamorous wives (I ain't mentioning any names!), and then wonder why they have to work overtime just to keep up the payments on their cars. And however much these folks may pretend that it doesn't bother them to see a bunch of overrated beat poets live the good life while they're stuck in dead-end jobs and in dead-end lives, they just want to scream.
These are the people who will vote for Trump and possibly put him into the White House unless Democrats can offer something better. If the Democrats don't listen to O'Malley - "O'Malley? Pffft, dude, whatever" - then the party is headed into oblivion.