Monday, November 21, 2016

O'Malley For President In 2020 . . .

. . . but not necessarily as a Democrat.

Martin O'Malley has decided not to seek the post of Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman after expressing interest in the job. He explained his reasons for bowing out of contention in a letter to his supporters:
"While I'm grateful to the supportive friends who have urged me to consider running for DNC Chair, I will not be seeking our Party's Chairmanship.  The DNC needs a chair who can do the job fully and with total impartiality. The national interest must come first."
By that, I suspect he means that incoming Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer must have gone to O'Malley and told him in no uncertain terms that Bernie Sanders - who has since reverted to being an independent, even though Senate Democrats have tapped him in an "outreach" role for the party  - wants Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison for the job.  If O'Malley's interest in the job was mentioned in news stories about the DNC, it was more often than not an afterthought in a story about Ellison or another DNC chair candidate, former DNC chair Howard Dean.  
So guess what - O'Malley is now free to run for President again.
But as a Democrat?  Seriously?  I get the impression that the Democratic Party still wants nothing to do with the man from Maryland.  Despite his firm command on the issues and his passionate defense for immigration reform and clean energy, and despite the fact that he was right when he suggested early on that nominating Hillary for President was a very bad idea,  no one takes him seriously as a presidential prospect.  Still.  Articles about potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 mention Michelle Obama (!) and Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders - both of whom will turn 80 in the presidential term beginning in January 2021 - but not O'Malley, who turns 58 in January 2021.  As I said in my blog entry from this past September, Democratic interest in and respect for O'Malley is non-existent to the point where he should just tell the party leaders to go f--- themselves (though I think they already did f--- themselves on Election Day) and help form a new party to promote progressive values while the Democrats go full Whig.  And tapping Keith Ellison for the DNC chair post is nothing short of asinine, not because he's black and a Muslim but because he's an incumbent congressman, and party rules specifically state that a party chairman can't be an officeholder.  But that didn't stop President Obama from naming Debbie Wasserman Schultz to the post - bad move - and now Schumer doesn't see a problem with installing Ellison in the post either, citing Ellison's organizing skills as proof he can do the job while remaining a congressman.  Right.  Not unless he clones himself.              
So, yes, I would like to see O'Malley help form a new party and become its standard-bearer for 2020.  I don't think an existing party, like the Greens, would replace the Democrats.  A new party is more likely to do so, and it would quite possibly form the way the Republicans did in the 1850s - through a coalition of like-minded members of existing parties, organizing gradually on a state-by-state basis. And the acceleration of communications technology could help it form and fill the void the Democrats have already left by losing everywhere much faster than the Republicans formed and filled the void left by the Whigs, getting it ready for 2020.
Be that as it may, Martin O'Malley will likely run for President again as a Democrat, if he in fact does run.  If he does run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he will be a de facto front-runner, what with the party's talent pool being far too shallow to field new candidates after having been repeatedly drained at the ballot box since 2008.   But O'Malley faces some tough challenges.  He faces accusations that he took a megalomanical, micromanagement-based approach to running the Baltimore police as that city's mayor, destabilizing an already dysfunctional police force and creating the culture that led to Freddie Gray's death at the hands of Baltimore police in 2015.  Rumors of an affair with a Baltimore TV newswoman are bubbling under the surface, with some charges that O'Malley got her a job in New York to keep her quiet (I won't reveal the name of the newswoman here, because I find the rumors to be without merit, as the stories I've read about this accusation come from irreputable sources).   And O'Malley has to contend with the unpleasant fact that Larry Hogan, his Republican successor as governor of Maryland, sees his popularity increase every time he rolls back an O'Malley policy or tears it out altogether.  Nothing new here, though, which means he has plenty of time to deal with all this before 2020.  But if he wants to run, he should get started now.  
And fast.  Donald Trump may already be figuring out how to have the next presidential election canceled.            

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