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Sat Jan 30, 2016, 05:34 PM

Progressive Iowans Should Vote for Martin O'Malley.

'I have my own personal theory for how people vote. Setting aside blind partisans who just pull a lever for one party or another without even a fundamental grasp of what the candidates stand for I think when informed voters are faced with a choice of two good candidates, they make their choice based on who they see as the most principled, who they believe is most authentic, and whether or not the candidate is not just perceived as a leader, but has demonstrated real leadership.
I'm sure many can argue about and pick apart what I just said, but thats my opinion based on my lifelong experience.

So, I want to explain how I decided Martin O'Malley best exhibits these three qualities and why I believe he's the best choice for progressive Democrats in 2016.

Principles - I think progressive Democrats have a pretty common understanding of what progressive principles are. For me, a good example of progressive principles are Elizabeth Warren's "11 Commandments of Progressivism" that she laid out at Netroots Nation in 2014. I won't list them all, but feel free to follow the link to see what they all are. The ones that hit home for me were things like:

- "We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it."
- "We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage."

- "We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt."

Or, another example is how in the 2013 budget battles, Congressman Keith Ellison laid out the core progressive principles Democrats needed to hold the line on with Republicans. Two of those were:

- Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits.

- Budget cuts need to come from new revenue and cuts at the Pentagon and be invested in creating jobs
These are the kinds of examples that occur to me when I think about progressive principles

Then, I believe people look at a candidate and decide whether or he/she has been a proven leader on these principles. Does their past experience and more importantly, their decisions and behaviors clearly demonstrate they have lead the way to real achievement against those principles? I think this is important because we've seen full throated progressives say all the right things, but when you look at their real accomplishments, did they actually achieve anything? Not to offend Dennis Kucinich fans, but I believe its fair to say his legislative accomplishments were very thin.

In Martin O'Malley's case, he has stood for core progressive Democratic principles and successfully lead on them in his 4 years as a Mayor of a large city and 8 years as Governor of Maryland. For example, while he was Governor, he did a great job at keeping a lid on the cost college education in the midst of the Great Recession while other Governors were raising tuition costs. In 2014, he penned an essay at the Huffington Post where it is clear that he understands and appreciates that investing in education, making college affordable represents investment in the middle class and the future of our country. And, he not only mouths the words, he has a record of leadership and accomplishment to prove it.

Now, Martin O'Malley is offering up bold ideas, many of which other progressive leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio also embrace:

- We must reinstate Glass-Steagall, and break up the big banks

- We must not only protect Social Security, we must expand it because its good for the economy, good for the middle class and good for the country

- We must raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour

And finally, when Martin O'Malley tells us what he wants to do, he comes across as genuinely authentic. He not only believes what he's saying, he's got the record of accomplishment that proves he believes in what he's saying, and the record of accomplishment that says he's a successful leader in achieving progressive policy. There's no ambiguity, there's no sense that he's a weathervane, and there's not a hint of triangulation. He's a real, authentic, principled leader. And thats why I believe he's the best candidate progressives and the Democratic Party should get behind in 2016.

To use Meteor Blades' sig line, we should be asking all candidates:

Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.'


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