It’s the first lesson in magic: Look over here, whilst the real stuff happens over here. Well Democrats, Americans, citizens of planet Earth, if you look back in bewilderment, wondering how Donald Trump, or any of these Republican presidential candidates, became president, you will see the greatest magic trick ever pulled in American politics.
There is still time to catch the magician in the “act,” but Democrats have to start paying attention, and find a candidate.
Back in 2008, I had it all figured out: President Hillary Clinton for eight years, and Vice President Barack Obama for another eight. I jumped the Hillaryship and joined the Obama bandwagon after Iowa. I wanted change and wanted it right then. Now, I want to continue that change, and I don’t believe a Clinton administration is capable of providing it.
That said, while I don’t think there is a candidate more intellectually prepared to be president, I don’t believe she’s genuine. While we can knowingly follow Bill Clinton as he lures us in with his charm and chuckle, for some reason Hillary’s veil of political deceit is simply transparent.
It does not take a savvy political pundit to see that she is not being forthcoming. Personally, I don’t care about her emails, nor do I believe there was anything nefarious to them. I believe if the Clintons were truly into some deep-seeded conspiracy, they would have the resources and wherewithal to come up with something more advanced than a personal email server.
It has also been a terrible waste of government time and resources for the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee to run a targeted political smear campaign against her. And while no investigation has yet to uncover anything slightly indicative of wrongdoing, Hillary was put in an uncomfortable political position, and she buckled.
Furthermore, she deserves recognition for running a campaign to this point that everyone claims to desire: one of substance. Yet I am doubting whether or not she can be trusted as the last defense between Trump and the Oval Office.
Then there is the progressive champion, Bernie Sanders. He is right on all the issues, has a progressive vision that will work for the middle class and will be as resistant to outside interests as the Donald (who doesn’t need your money!). But the president has to inspire. The president has to lead all of America, in tone, tenor and vision for the future.
When I look at Bernie Sanders, I don’t see the future. I don’t even see the future of the Democratic Party. I see an outstanding cabinet secretary, treasury secretary, czar for the middle class or a federal elections commission chair, who finally gets money out of politics.
Then there’s Joe. Vice President Biden is the embodiment of real human experience and empathy. He is brilliant and progressive. Criticisms of “gaffes” are overblown pages in political history — a food dispenser feeding the media frenzy for a soundbite, comparatively dull when split screen with Trump.
And Joe has never lost an election. He won his first race for Senate when he was just 29 years old, and every one thereafter until becoming vice president.
But Joe’s political aspirations may have finally met their end in personal tragedy and heartache. And who could blame him for simply trying to survive and find happiness after losing another child?
However, if Joe enters the race it will be difficult to resist. The vice president who pushed his president to support marriage equality; who understands universal health care is a “big deal”; who continues the progress of an administration that has unemployment down to the lowest rate since before the crash in 2008, recently saw the fewest jobless claims since 1973 and will push for climate change legislation that could save our planet.
Then there is my candidate — Martin O’Malley, governor of Maryland. O’Malley, 52, would carry on the successful tradition of younger Democratic presidents (Obama, 47; Clinton, 46). He shares the core progressive Democratic values and embodies the vigor of a young leader who can represent the future of America on the world stage.
While pundits scrutinize what effect Trump is having on the other party, I argue the biggest loser of the Trump summer is O’Malley. Sitting around three percent in polls, he is stuck in the shallow end until he gets to the debates, before a national audience, where he can introduce himself to Democratic voters. Then the conversation of “If Hillary falls, then who?” becomes “If Hillary is vulnerable, there’s that O’Malley guy.”