A third Democrat will play an essential role in presidential elections

Last Updated: February 1, 2016
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martin o'malley
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Martin O’Malley’s campaign was far from being memorable, but now he finds himself in the position to influence the outcome of the presidential elections in Iowa. He has only 3% support, yet this could make a difference in the Clinton vs Sanders battle, says CNN.

Iowa caucuses rules say that in order to reach “viability,” a candidate must have the support of 15% of the caucus-goers in that precinct, claims the same source. Well, with that 3%, Martin O’Malley is way off, but he still has something to say in these elections. Voters that go for a candidate who doesn’t reach that “viability” can support another candidate of their choosing. Knowing that, Clinton and Sanders have started implementing a plan to “steal” those votes.

Mr. O’Malley won’t quit that easy

O’Malley has figured out that he doesn’t have a chance, but is still asking his supporters to stick with him, making his case on social media, national television and even in person. “Hold strong in that first alignment. I need you”, said Martin O’Malley to volunteers gathered at a phone bank at his precinct captain’s home in Boone, Iowa, Saturday evening, according to CNN. And in front of reporters, he remains confident, quite unexpected. “We have to beat expectations. I’m hoping and working to make my campaign the surprise that comes out of Iowa”, said O’Malley.

While O’Malley is claiming that he is still dreaming of a comeback, Clinton and Sanders have made a target in aiming at O’Malley’s supporters, in an effort to become their second choice. You could say that a bunch of voters can’t make a difference, but Clinton already learned this lesson the hard way. In 2008, she ignored this strategy, while Barack Obama identified supporters of lower-polling candidates like Chris Dodd and Joe Biden and courted them heavily, says the same source.

But who will he support?

“In a tight race, as someone starts getting the edge on that second choice pick, it could make all the difference in the world,” said Brad Anderson, a Democratic strategist who led Obama’s re-election effort in Iowa in 2012, quoted by CNN.

Martin O’Malley doesn’t seem to have made a decision. He’s not yet ready to support any of the two Democrats fighting for top position and he’s still waiting for something, that’s clear, but what? Have either Clinton or Sanders proposed something and he needs time to analyze? Or maybe he’ll go out and say to his supporters to vote for whoever they consider right for the White House? John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich did so in 2004, when they asked their supporters to back up the candidate who was viable in their perceptions.

3% can be crucial

It looks like no matter what Martin O’Malley will consider, many of his supporters have made up their mind. His precinct captain, Pam Nystrom, said she’ll vote for Bernie Sanders, if she can’t manage to get enough voters to push Martin O’Malley over the threshold, confirms CNN. Many other voters have turned their attention towards Sanders. 3% is not much, but it can make a difference when talking about the election of the most powerful leader in the world. And hearing about this sustain Sanders is getting, surely Clinton can’t be too happy. 

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