In journalism, timing is everything.
Consider the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine. The December issue is, sensibly enough, on newsstands now. “Martin O’Malley ought to be a Democrat’s dream candidate,” begins a story by political correspondent Molly Ball. “In two terms as the governor of Maryland, he’s ushered in a sweeping liberal agenda that includes gay marriage, gun control, an end to the death penalty, and in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrants.”
But the piece takes no notice of events over the past month.
On Nov. 4, Maryland voters repudiated O’Malley by electing Republican Larry Hogan over O’Malley’s Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. Hogan never led any pre-election polls and isn’t mentioned in Ball’s story. It was just one of a sweeping tide of Republican wins in traditionally Democratic states, from Illinois to Massachusetts.
The point of the story is that O’Malley is (or, perhaps, was) considering running for president against presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He had 11 employees working in Iowa this fall and, Ball writes, relishes his underdog status.
“The thing I believe presents something of value to my country, especially in these times, is my experience as an executive, and as somebody that was able to bring people together in order to get things done,” O’Malley explains.
But the story ignores how unpopular many of those things — gun control and illegal immigration spring to mind — actually are.
On Election Day, Maryland voters, who are dependable Democrats, didn’t support O’Malley’s policies. Voters nationwide aren’t likely to, either.