Courtesy of Associated Press
Former Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley asserted himself Nov. 14 after he had a few good one-liners that garnered loud applause from the crowd, maybe creating just the advantage he needed.
A few days after Republican presidential hopefuls met on stage in Milwaukee, Democratic candidates met in Des Moines, Iowa, to debate issues like gun reform, immigration, and Wall Street.
In contrast to the GOP debate of 12 candidates split into two debates, the Democratic debate only had three onstage: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley.
In-state students at the University of Maryland were excited to see their former governor doing well onstage. Many believed he hadn’t really gained any momentum yet and were worried he was not making much of a name for himself.
“It’s weird, [O’Malley] is running for president, yet still no one really knows who he is outside of the state of Maryland,” said sophomore criminology major Kelly Gorman. “It’s cool seeing someone who represented the state up on the big stage.”
O’Malley, who has been turning out low numbers in the polls, had a strong moment when he went after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. O’Malley stressed a more compassionate approach to illegal immigration, in contrast to Trump’s harsher reform plan.
“Let’s say it in our debate because you’ll never hear it from that immigrant-bashing carnival barker Donald Trump,” he said.
A consistent tactic O’Malley has also used during the debates has been to take jabs at Clinton, while Sanders and Clinton often go after the GOP.
Sanders and O’Malley both took some time to team up going after Clinton for her Wall Street connections, especially in regards to where her biggest donations are coming from.
“I believe that we actually need some new economic thinking in the White House,” O’Malley said. “And I would not have Robert Rubin or Larry Summers with all due respect, Secretary Clinton, to you and to them, back on my council of economic advisers.”
This alliance between Sanders and O’Malley against front-runner Clinton seemed to be a trend throughout the night, especially during a discussion of a raise in minimum wage. Clinton proposed a $12 minimum wage, whereas Sanders and O’Malley argued for $15.
“From an economic standpoint, the $15 minimum wage doesn’t make 100 percent sense,” said Braidon English, a sophomore letters and sciences major.
When it came to gun control, Sanders was somewhat of an outlier. Clinton found her chance to attack Sanders’ gun control stance and voting record, which hasn’t been in complete agreement with the rest of his leftist views.
O’Malley took the opportunity to strike at Clinton, saying, “In 2008, you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley.”
“I think something positive about Hillary is that she is able to change with the times and adapt, like real people do. We expect politicians to always have the same mindset, but do we?” said Gorman.
The momentum O’Malley gathered from the debate was enough to make some students happy.
“I like that O’Malley is finally starting to gain some energy in these debates,” said English. “He has some work to still do, but he’s finally making a name for himself.”