Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is on his way to Iowa to pursue a newly-announced mission: Become president of the United States.
On a sunny Saturday at Baltimore’s waterfront, O’Malley threw his hat into the ring. He’s the third Democrat to announce he’s seeking the presidency, following front-runner Hillary Clinton and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Wearing a dress shirt and tie but no jacket on a warm day, O’Malley took the stage after technical difficulties kept the crowd from seeing his campaign video. He painted himself as a political outsider, even as a populist.
“The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth between two royal families,” he said, specifically citing the support both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush enjoy from the establishment.
The former governor also noted the economic difficulties dogging the United States under the Obama administration. “Today in America, 70 percent of us are earning the same or less than we were 10 years ago,” he said.
He pointed the finger at powerful special interests who he said have been “allowing our land of opportunity to become a land of inequality.” Wall Street soars, he added, while Main Street struggles. “If a bank is too big to fail,” he said, “we need to break it up before it breaks us again.”
O’Malley also took note of last month’s riots in Baltimore, where he was once mayor, without proposing specific solutions to the city’s problems. “What took place was not only about race, not only about policing,” he said. “It was about everything it is supposed to mean to be an American.”
Before he spoke, the former governor was introduced by a college student who said he benefited when O’Malley signed a state version of the DREAM Act, which allowed him to attend school despite being an illegal immigrant.
In his remarks, O’Malley bragged about signing that act and vowed he’ll legalize millions of illegal aliens if elected president.
“For the sake of our country’s growth, we must also bring 11 million of our neighbors out of the shadows by passing comprehensive immigration reform,” O’Malley insisted.
O’Malley’s support for illegal aliens mirrors Hillary Clinton’s, which she announced in Nevada earlier this month. It would also set up an interesting contrast with at least some of the GOP contenders, who are saying they want to take a harder line on illegals.
On economics, O’Malley called for a higher minimum wage and stronger unions, saying those policies would help deliver a stronger economy. He also warned about climate change, calling it a great opportunity to develop alternative energy sources.
O’Malley has a long way to go. He barely mentioned the former secretary of state in his remarks, but Hillary Clinton maintains a massive lead in the Democrat party. A Quinnipiac poll released this week shows he’d earn only 1 percent of Democrat votes if the primary “were being held today.” Hillary Clinton took 57 percent in that survey.