O'Malley in Iowa emerging as credible alternative to Hillary

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley was not known as a liberal firebrand in the mold of Elizabeth Warren while in office. But O'Malley knows what side his bread is buttered on in Iowa. He lashed out at Wall Street and income inequality at several events designed to establish his left wing cred.

KWWL:

"Over the last 12 years, wages have been going down, not up," said O'Malley, who concluded eight years as governor of Maryland in January. "In fact, last year, Wall Street bonuses alone were double the combined earnings of every single American working for minimum wage to take care of their family. Until we solve this problem, we cannot rest - as a party or as a people."

They were comments aimed squarely at those still pining for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to get into the race, something she has said repeatedly she will not. An effort to draft Warren into the race has been underway for months, organized by the liberal groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America.

Among that crowd, O'Malley isn't yet the first alternate to the preferred alternate - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"His name has not come up in visits I've had with my progressive people at all," said Brenda Brink, a liberal activist from Huxley, Iowa, of O'Malley. "I think people are just so interested in Bernie or Elizabeth."

Or, perhaps, Joe Biden. Former Obama campaign volunteer William Pierce organized and launched a super PAC called Draft Joe Biden this past week, with plans to hire state coordinators in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and the singular goal of persuading the vice president to get in the race.

"I'm a lifelong Clinton fan. But the thing is, this isn't a dynasty - it isn't a monarchy," Pierce said. "We need people outside of the great Clinton family to represent us."

In the end, that may be the biggest advantage O'Malley and other Democratic candidates have: they will be the "unHillary." Most Democrats are blind to it now (as are most Republicans supporting Jeb Bush) but the name "Clinton" (or "Bush") carries with it a lot of baggage as well as a unhappy memories of a divisive time in our politics. Hillary's gender is only going to get her so far. The rest of the race will turn on ideas, as it usually does.

As for O'Malley, he appears to be a credible candidate - if he can raise enough cash. Clinton has locked up most of the whales in Democratic fundraising circles, so O'Malley is going to have to find alternative ways to raise money. Obama hit the motherlode online in 2008, so it isn't impossible. But overcoming the Clinton machine's formidable organization is a challenge few observers believe O'Malley is capable.

 

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley was not known as a liberal firebrand in the mold of Elizabeth Warren while in office. But O'Malley knows what side his bread is buttered on in Iowa. He lashed out at Wall Street and income inequality at several events designed to establish his left wing cred.

KWWL:

"Over the last 12 years, wages have been going down, not up," said O'Malley, who concluded eight years as governor of Maryland in January. "In fact, last year, Wall Street bonuses alone were double the combined earnings of every single American working for minimum wage to take care of their family. Until we solve this problem, we cannot rest - as a party or as a people."

They were comments aimed squarely at those still pining for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to get into the race, something she has said repeatedly she will not. An effort to draft Warren into the race has been underway for months, organized by the liberal groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America.

Among that crowd, O'Malley isn't yet the first alternate to the preferred alternate - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"His name has not come up in visits I've had with my progressive people at all," said Brenda Brink, a liberal activist from Huxley, Iowa, of O'Malley. "I think people are just so interested in Bernie or Elizabeth."

Or, perhaps, Joe Biden. Former Obama campaign volunteer William Pierce organized and launched a super PAC called Draft Joe Biden this past week, with plans to hire state coordinators in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and the singular goal of persuading the vice president to get in the race.

"I'm a lifelong Clinton fan. But the thing is, this isn't a dynasty - it isn't a monarchy," Pierce said. "We need people outside of the great Clinton family to represent us."

In the end, that may be the biggest advantage O'Malley and other Democratic candidates have: they will be the "unHillary." Most Democrats are blind to it now (as are most Republicans supporting Jeb Bush) but the name "Clinton" (or "Bush") carries with it a lot of baggage as well as a unhappy memories of a divisive time in our politics. Hillary's gender is only going to get her so far. The rest of the race will turn on ideas, as it usually does.

As for O'Malley, he appears to be a credible candidate - if he can raise enough cash. Clinton has locked up most of the whales in Democratic fundraising circles, so O'Malley is going to have to find alternative ways to raise money. Obama hit the motherlode online in 2008, so it isn't impossible. But overcoming the Clinton machine's formidable organization is a challenge few observers believe O'Malley is capable.