And yet, unfortunately, in scapegoating Martin O’Malley for the recent Baltimore riots in such a way as to make that — a set of events that took place 8 years after O’Malley left office — the lens through which his entire 25-year record in elected office is to be viewed and evaluated (while neglecting to mention that O’Malley won his Mayor’s seat in 1999 with 91% of the vote and was re-elected in 2003 with 88%) — and in dismissing supporters of O’Malley’s presidential run as people who are “weird that way,” you are doing the very same thing to O’Malley that you accuse the media of doing to Bernie Sanders: making him a strawman cartoon that is unworthy of a closer look.
What you might have—but didn’t — mention is that, as Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley led his state to pass an impressive series laws that Sanders supporters no doubt would cheer — (1) raising of the minimum wage, (2) legalization of same-sex marriage, (3) abolition of the death penalty and (4) a version of the DREAM Act — all while making Maryland the top state in public education for 5 years running. In contrast: For as long as Bernie Sanders has been on the national stage, his record of legislative accomplishments — passage of bills that he sponsored or co-sponsored — is rather thin.
Although it’s true that media analysis of the Sanders campaign usually comes with the caveat that, well, of course, he’s not going to get the Democratic nomination — and why should he, one might ask, when he’s not even a Democrat — it also is the case that media coverage of what’s inside “the box” of the Sanders campaign has been overwhelmingly soft, glowing and positive. Indeed, the media has been very quick to annoint Sanders as The “progressive alternative” to Hillary Clinton — so much so that most media mentions of O’Malley now come with their own caveat that, well, the spot for saying what he’s saying already is occupied by Sanders. There’s room for only one challenger to Clinton from her left, and Sanders, the media is saying, is It.
If anything, the media is puffing Sanders and trying to kneecap O’Malley. This, I would argue, is because they see an O’Malley groundswell as the real threat to the nomination of their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton. By elevating Sanders, they think, they are creating the clearest path to Clinton’s nomination.