Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, December 17, 2018

Martin O’Malley ‘seriously considering’ presidential run

Martin O’Malley ‘seriously considering’ presidential run

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley flexed his presidential campaign muscles on March 17 at a Kennedy Political Union event and said he is “seriously considering” a 2016 bid.

The potential democratic hopeful rolled up his sleeves and broke out the pearly whites for the AU crowd. Mic in hand, O’Malley bounced a couple of jokes off the attendees before promising they would have a voice that night.

“I don’t want to talk at you,” O’Malley said. “We’ll hopefully have a little bit of a dialogue.”

Throughout the night, O’Malley made a point to compare his successes as Maryland’s governor to what he could do for the country as a whole. Increasing jobs, raising wages, taxing the wealthy and bringing more environmental and technological innovation were all key points. For O’Malley, tapping into millennial potential is a solution to the country’s mistakes.

“We perfect our union to the degree that more people use their talents more fully in every generation to fuel the new discoveries and the innovation that we need here to improve an ever higher quality of life,” O’Malley said. “We believe that it’s in the fullness of freedom, that fullness of participation--these are the things that have made us the land of opportunity in the minds and hearts and tongues of all the people across the world. In other words we need to return to our true selves.”

O’Malley pointed out that inclusive economics and principled politics were how the United States could make the right steps toward prosperity for everyone.

The former governor said the American economy is the product of citizen’s choices, adding that those choices were not the product of topical catalysts like the gulf stream and the polar vortex but rather the product of decisions citizens make together.

To make his point, the politician asked seven audience members to approach the front of the room and represent the seven kinds of salary earners in 1947. From lowest to highest, O’Malley represented how each group progressed by the steps they took.

O’Malley compared that to 30 years ago when the wage gap widened between the rich and poor.

“We understood that the more money customers earn, the better they are for business,” O’Malley said.

This was a recurring theme for O’Malley. With gesturing and even a chest pound or two, the former governor made his case as a home-grown progressive willing to tap into millennial potential and create change.

O’Malley’s presidential hopes coincided with the topics he covered for the KPU event.

“I’m certainly seriously considering,” O’Malley said about his 2016 motives in an interview with The Eagle.

He also said that though Hillary Clinton seems like the party favorite, he was unconcerned about making himself stand out in the field.

“Very often in our process, there is an inevitable frontrunner who is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable,” O’Malley said in the interview with The Eagle. An interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on March 12 yielded the same answer.

O’Malley said he put his trust in the American people, particularly citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire, to look beyond campaign hype and focus on the future. The hopeful said he’s putting his faith in the people who want to meet a candidate. Those face-to-face connections can change the course for a non-frontrunner, O’Malley said.

The KPU event gave O’Malley his face-to-face time with the millennial demographic. Approaching the audience, shaking hands and showing his wit, O’Malley was in his element. He took questions from the crowd. His sleeves were still rolled and his humor didn’t waiver. He made a point to ask each person posing a question what their name was and where they were from. When one student said they came from Pittsburgh, he put on an accent and channeled the dialect. O’Malley is proud of his father’s birthplace and proud of his Irish heritage, noted in the bright green tie he wore for St. Patrick’s Day.

The former governor answered questions about education, clean waterways, mass incarceration and wages with energetic and impassioned answers.

For O’Malley, the University Club could have been a town hall in Middle America. He came with fire and left with a partial standing ovation from a half-filled room.

If he wanted to test how millennials might react to a grassroots, progressive version of change, AU students would have given him a passing grade. At least School of Communication sophomore Stephen Pienciak did.

“I would vote for O’Malley,” 18 year-old Pienciak said. “I was going to be a supporter of Hillary Clinton, but after tonight I’ve become more of a supporter of O’Malley.”

jsmith@theeagleonline.com


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