The Democratic Debate Loser This Time Around Suffered From A Bad Case Of No One Caring
On Sunday night, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley faced off in the fourth Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential election in Charleston, South Carolina. With the Iowa caucuses only two weeks away, all three presidential contenders needed to give a stellar performance to persuade voters that they are indeed the right candidate. However, Martin O'Malley didn't come close to making the impact he needed to this close to the primaries.
After Iowa's caucuses on Feb. 1, New Hampshire, Nevada, and then South Carolina will vote in primary elections, helping determine which of the three Democrats will eventually represent the party in the general election. Since South Carolina hosts the South's first primary, it's an important state to win over, but O'Malley was overshadowed by the other two politicians' quick, detailed, and enthusiastic debate answers. One poor debate performance won't necessarily break a presidential campaign, but it certainly won't help this close to the primaries, and O'Malley wasn't doing well to begin with. Unfortunately, he won't have another chance to woo Iowa voters before they take to the polls. But the next Democratic debate on Feb. 11 will give him one more shot at reaching the rest of America.
O'Malley almost didn't even qualify for Sunday's debate, and the minimal attention he received during the event proved that no one really cares about his campaign. He didn't necessarily give bad answers or evade tough questions, but the focus of the debate was on Clinton and Sanders — the two frontrunners. He spent the whole time trying to claw his way into the discussion and make himself relevant, and his efforts were valiant. However, no matter what he said, he couldn't garner the attention or enthusiasm he desperately needed to sustain his presidential bid.
Like an awkward third wheel, he was just disrupting the main couple on stage. Things got really desperate when he tried to insert himself into the conversation as Clinton attacked Sanders' lack of support for President Obama. Clinton and Sanders didn't even care enough to put much effort into criticizing the former Maryland governor — a true sign that you've become obsolete — so he had to weasel his way into their one-on-one tiff.
It's very difficult to come out ahead when you began as the lowest-ranked candidate, and O'Malley couldn't pull it off. It's hard to say whether it's worse to have a bad debate performance or to have a decent performance that no one notices. Either way, this won't bode well for the future of O'Malley's campaign.