Martin O’Malley entered the race for the 2016 Democratic nomination and immediately injected a negative tone by attacking Bernie Sanders on ABC’s This Week.
Transcript via ABC News:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How are you even gonna get into the pole position right now? I mean, Bernie Sanders– taken out a lotta the same progressive positions you have– has kind of shot up– in both the national polls and– and Iowa and New Hampshire the last– few weeks. Is– that’s a challenge to your candidacy.
GOVERNOR O’MALLEY: Well, I think it’s an encouragement to my candidacy, and for this reason. I think that– the public is looking for new leadership, leadership that doesn’t apologize for having progressive values.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: –why should progressive voters pick you over Bernie Sanders?
GOVERNOR O’MALLEY: Because I have a track record of actually getting things done, not just talking about things.
If Martin O’Malley thinks that Bernie Sanders is all talk, America’s veterans have a few points that they would like to make. It was a Bernie Sanders bill that reformed veterans’ health care last year. Bernie Sanders played a critical role as Chairman of the Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee, the legislative response to the VA crisis.
Bernie Sanders did more yesterday at the federal level than O’Malley has done in his entire career.
O’Malley is trying to play the “executive experience” card, but it isn’t going to work. Martin O’Mally is trying to be both the young agent of change and the seasoned executive. His strategy is similar to the one being used by Scott Walker in the Republican primary. In fact, O’Malley’s style of campaigning would be a better fit for the Republican primary.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running civil and issue-focused campaigns. O’Malley is trying to change the tone of the primary with attacks on both Clinton and Sanders, but these attacks aren’t what the vast majority of Democrats are interested in. Martin O’Malley can’t separate himself on the issues because Sanders has already staked out the more liberal positions, so he has to throw bombs to get attention.
O’Malley completely underestimated the popularity of Bernie Sanders, and attacking an opponent who doesn’t run negative ads is destined to backfire on the campaign and harm his chances with Democratic primary voters.