Martin O’Malley remembers running for president like this: He is on a train, heading for a bridge. He can see the bridge is giving out. He is shouting and waving and pointing at a “better lane,” he says. “But it’s like I couldn’t get anybody on the train to listen.”
“It was the most frustrating experience I’ve ever had in politics.”
O’Malley was still a young mayor in Baltimore, elected at 36, when he started hearing people say he might one day “go all the way.” Now, at 54, on the other side of that dream, he is at turns resigned to and not yet at peace with the eight months he spent as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. That his 2016 campaign never caught fire, or even much of a spark, is a reality he reasons with in one moment, ticking off outside contributing factors, before adding in the next that, in fact, “None of it made sense.”
Trains have tracks, not lanes.