- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:


Where on Earth did Martin O'Malley go?

Sure, the former Maryland governor who last month announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been overshadowed this week by newcomers to the race, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.

But still, O'Malley has all but disappeared, garnering almost no cable news coverage (and a Google search for the last 24 hours turned up only weird — and bad — headlines: “It’s Time to Discuss Martin O’Malley’s Shirtless Campaign Body”; “Martin O'Malley Deleted Official Emails, Archived Spam”; “Sanders overwhelms O'Malley.”

That last one is a killer. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who is an avowed Socialist, has vaulted up in the polls. In the most recent New Hampshire poll, Sanders got 31 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 41 percent. 
Sanders was trending in the single digits as speculation mounting that he would run. Since then, he has risen steadily. In national polls, he’s still far from catching Clinton — the latest Quinnipiac poll shows him trailing 57-15.

But that same poll put O’Malley, who had not yet announced, at 1 percent. The latest poll, by Monmouth, shows him at 1 percent.

So the oddball candidacy of Sanders is sucking all the air out of O'Malley’s campaign — and the latter was seen as the only true threat to Hillary. One reason is simple: Sanders is the real deal (at least when it comes to socialist populism).

All three Democratic candidates are battling for one mantle: Champion of America’s Middle Class. But O'Malley, both of governor and as mayor of Baltimore, was not shining liberal on a hill. He’s taken millions from big corporations to fund his campaigns, and while he decries Wall Street, he’s soliciting cash from big banks.

“Since at least the beginning of the year, O’Malley himself has eyed contributions from executives at several major Wall Street banks, according to people with direct knowledge of O’Malley’s fundraising,” Fox Business reported.

“These people say in recent months, O’Malley met key officials from Morgan Stanley (MS), and, according to O’Malley campaign officials, he is looking for contributions from what he considers ‘reformed minded bankers’ at other firms such as JP Morgan (JPM) and even Goldman Sachs (GS), whose chief executive Lloyd Blankfein was singled out by O’Malley in his announcement speech for having too much influence with Clinton.”

Sanders, meanwhile, is one of only a couple dozen U.S. senators who isn’t a millionaire. He vows not to accept corporate contributions and, like Clinton and O'Malley, is targeting big bank — but only Sanders has a record of actually battling them.

In his 25 years as a federal lawmaker, 16 as a House member, Sanders has been a fierce foe of the so-called “too-big-to-fail” financial institutions. This past May, for instance, he introduced a bill to break up the nation’s biggest banks “to safeguard the economy and prevent another costly taxpayer bailout,” he said,

And he’s also adamantly against huge corporate money in campaigns. “I think the decision of the Supreme Court will go down in history in Citizens United as one of the worst decisions ever. Free speech is your right to talk about any issue that you want. It is not your right to spend unlimited sums of money to control the United States government or state legislatures or governor seats all over this country. That is not what free speech is about. And the American people, by the way, in overwhelming numbers, do not agree with the Supreme Court,” he said 

Sure, it’s always possible that the mainstream media is focusing on Sanders because he is less of a threat to Clinton (and look for the MSM to cover Donald Trump nonstop, if only to mock all Republican candidates when he says something stupid, which he will). That way, O'Malley will flounder in the polls, his money will dry up, and he’ll disappear.

But so far, the message Sanders is delivering is resonating far more than O'Malley‘s.  

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