Martin O’Malley has a sad, as the kids are wont to say on social media. He’s been taking his case to the media and party leaders… pretty much anyone who will listen, claiming that the deck is stacked against him and the party is already setting up for the presidency of Hillary Clinton before he’s had a chance to make his pitch to the country. He made this point clearly to The Hill this week.
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley in an exclusive interview Wednesday with The Hill accused party insiders of trying to tilt the primary contest in Hillary Clinton’s favor.
O’Malley lit into the Democratic Party for seeking to limit the number of presidential debates, which he said would help Clinton glide to the nomination.
O’Malley said he raised the issue with the chairwoman of the Democratic Party, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), during last week’s National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale.
“There’s an effort by a few insiders to try to limit the number of debates that we have and I’ve shared with the chair — Debbie Wasserman Schultz — that I think that’s a grave mistake and I think it’s undemocratic,” O’Malley told The Hill in between in-between campaign stops in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.
O’Malley is talking about the party circling the wagons and trying to pre-ordain the outcome. Well… duh.
There are definitely some party insiders and a fair amount of their regular voters who have been “Ready for Hillary” pretty much since she lost the Democrat primary in 2008. Anyone who wanted to wade into this race should have known – and been ready for – this before throwing their hat in the ring. But that feeling is hardly universal and some of the people he’s wagging his fingers at are probably not quite as culpable as he might imagine. For the biggest example, it’s hard to make the case that Debby Downer has been in the tank for Hillary. The Clintons have long memories and they clearly have not forgotten how Wasserman-Schultz jumped on board the Obama train early in the 2008 cycle. This led to rampant rumors last year that Hillary was one of the key players trying to engineer an involuntary exit for Debby from the party leadership.
Also, there is plenty of Clinton discontent among the base, most of whom seem to prefer the style and message of Elizabeth Warren over Clinton. If O’Malley was less self-absorbed he would realize that there was an opportunity there. Obviously Bernie Sanders realized it, and he’s been capitalizing on that political market space in a shocking fashion. On that subject, has anyone asked Martin about Bernie? The actual socialist in the race is within the margin of error against Hillary in New Hampshire right now. The real question for O’Malley isn’t whether Clinton has an unfair advantage. (Obviously she does) Instead, we should be asking him how he’s getting beaten so badly by Bernie Sanders.
The one complaint O’Malley has which may have some credibility is the debate structure. Why are the Democrats only having six debates? I’ll admit that the former GOP practice of having one nearly every week for four months is a bit crazy, but six sounds a bit on the thin side, doesn’t it? The more time Hillary is in front of a camera answering questions about her scandals (assuming anyone has the temerity to ask) the more damaged the Democrat brand will be going into the general election. It would help O’Malley (and Sanders) to have more shots at her and they deserve a few more debates. The odds of that happening, though, are pretty slim.