Tuesday, February 02, 2016

And then there were two

Today, even before the results in Iowa were finalised, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Only the timing was a surprise.

O’Malley never managed to get much attention, and as media and voter attention focused only on the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, O’Malley’s situation never stood a chance of getting any better. Ideologically, he was probably somewhere between the two remaining candidates, somewhat to the right of Sanders, and somewhat to the left of Clinton, but he wasn’t different enough from either to provide a third option.

I was one of those who wondered why O’Malley entered the race, but he and former candidates Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee were, in theory, no better known than each other. In fact, I’d argue that when this campaign began, Aside from (some) Democrats and (most) left-leaning voters outside the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders was probably no better known than O’Malley was, but the way Sanders quickly emerged as THE alternative to Clinton meant that none of the others, including O’Malley, would get a look.

O’Malley seems to have run an honourable campaign, judging from the precious little I saw about it in the mainstream media. However, the only time I saw him in action, in the “Brown and Black Democratic Presidential Forum” (and it had to be a forum in format, and not a debate, because the Democratic Party wouldn’t let the candidates debate), O’Malley seemed rather wooden; maybe it was a bad day. Even so, he was better than any of the Republicans. Of course.

So, the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is now a two-person race. Because it’s still a very lively race, it’s unlikely that O’Malley’s departure will affect how the mainstream newsmedia covers the race, or much attention they give it, because most of them treated it as if it already was a two-person race, and that’s part of the reason that O’Malley’s campaign never went anywhere.

As of today, there's still 9 months, 7 days until the US presidential election.


rogerogreen said...

O'Malley (and Webb and woulda been Biden) because Bernie is a "socialist", and Hillary is a Clinton (email, Benghazi!) and they wanted the party to have a safety valve.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes, and I read somewhere months ago that he saw himself as a safety valve. I guess no steam ever built up behind that valve.