Former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley has made it official: He announced earlier today that he would be seeking the Democratic nomination.
Though O’Malley was a Hillary supporter in 2008, his announcement today positioned himself as a kind of progressive alternative to Clinton. Like Bernie Sanders, except younger, with better suits, and definitely not a socialist.
“Today, the American dream seems for so many of us to be hanging by a thread,” the 52-year-old said during his speech in Baltimore. “This is not the American dream,” O’Malley added. “It does not have to be this way. This generation of Americans still has time to become great. We must save our country now. And we will do that by rebuilding the dream.”
He painted himself as an anti-corporate candidate whom big banks would fear. He also called for comprehensive immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, and the need to address climate change.
In addition to shoring up his progressive cred, O’Malley has also played up his relative youth. The New York Times reports:
In the days before [today’s] announcement, his advisers and allies shaped the race with generational contours, though aides to Mr. O’Malley insist they are not trying to play up Mrs. Clinton’s age (she is 67).
The contrast has been unmistakable, though: In a video released by his aides on Friday morning, Mr. O’Malley plucked a guitar (to the tune of “Hail to the Chief”) while the camera focused on his hands. And his aides have repeatedly used the word “old” — as in “old guard” or “old way of thinking” — in veiled references to Mrs. Clinton, something that has not been lost on her allies.
But whether or not O’Malley’s image as a young, hip, in touch guy who just loves playing the guitar is actually worth anything remains to be seen, as Erin wrote earlier this month:
The last time a popular governor who can play cool guy musical instruments ran for President, the year was 2012, the candidate was Jon Huntsman, and we all know how that turned out.
Image via Getty.