Former presidential candidate Martin O’Malley denounces Trump, encourages political activism


Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Former presidential candidate Martin O’Malley speaks to students about Donald Trump’s presidency and political engagement in Cahn Auditorium on Monday. The event was hosted by College Democrats.

Grace Gay, Reporter

Former presidential candidate Martin O’Malley spoke about the current political climate and lessons he learned from his 2016 candidacy in a Monday event sponsored by College Democrats.

About 90 people attended the event at Cahn Auditorium, which featured Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson.

O’Malley, who served as Maryland governor from 2007 to 2015, said he wanted to focus on serious issues in his primary campaign, but President Donald Trump distracted people with “political pornography” and “fascist appeals.”

He said the younger generation represents the good within the country and can shape the future. O’Malley said young people’s concerns about climate change and health care are indicative of coming reform.

“There is a goodness within our country that’s waiting to be called out,” he said. “It is not what Donald Trump represents. It’s what your generation represents. … I do want to impress upon you that the truth can defend herself, but she needs you to stake it first.”

O’Malley said there is now a “constitutional crisis,” and he hopes the situation will improve following the 2018 midterms. The best strategy for Democrats to win, O’Malley said, is for candidates to be authentic.

He added that younger voters may be disillusioned with politics, but they should vote because they are citizens of the most powerful country “at the most critical time in the history of the planet.” O’Malley also said political activism threatens dangerous ideologies, such as fascism.

“I understand being turned off by politics,” he said. “I understand the sense that the game is rigged … the only way to change it is if you guys change it. So we have to get off our cellphones, off the couch and out to vote.”

Communication junior Abrahm Oxley-Hase, who attended the event, told The Daily he enjoyed the talk because it covered local elections. He added that he wished O’Malley discussed political issues like gerrymandering.

“It was kind of nice to hear some optimism in a time that’s been largely dominated by pessimism, especially by liberals,” Oxley-Hase said.

After speaking, O’Malley answered questions about Democratic Party leadership and youth voter turnout.

Weinberg freshman Cameron Cook asked the former governor how Democrats can balance the interests of voters of different races, but was unimpressed with O’Malley’s response.

“He sort of said, ‘We should meet everyone where they are,’ and that seems a little oversimplified to me,” Cook said.

O’Malley encouraged students to volunteer for the Democratic Party by canvassing and helping at events, emphasizing that Trump’s presidency will spur change. O’Malley stressed the importance of caring, talking to people and treating others with respect while campaigning.

Going forward, he said, he expects many young people and new faces to run for office.

“We should consider ourselves lucky that we were born right now, that we’ve come of age now,” O’Malley said. “We’re not victims. We’re Americans. We make our own destiny.”

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