Yes, the Democratic Long Shots Are Talking, but Is Anyone Listening?

k1610354Candidate-talk is filling up the talk shows and online and old-school news pages.  The Republican nomination is up for grabs, so GOP candidates naturally are receiving more extensive coverage. Over on the Democratic side, however, it’s a different story.  All Hillary.  All the time.  Or so it seems.But the fact is Bernie Sanders is being noticed and, in some polls, there is a meaningful increase from what was, admittedly, a low starting point.  And that’s good, because he deserves to be heard, and we deserve to hear what he says.

Other Democratic hopefuls are talking, too.  And it’s at least somewhat worthwhile to pay a visit to the bottom of most polls where three men — Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee — collectively hold about a 6% position.

O’Malley, the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, has been trying to get noticed for weeks — make that months.  Not surprisingly, he embraced the gun control issue this week.  He probably was drowned out, however, by the bigger names.

He kicked off what his aides describe as a “major push” on the issue last week with an email to supporters where he declared he was “pissed” by the mass shooting in South Carolina.Gun control has long been something of a political lightning rod and President Barack Obama suffered one of the biggest defeats of his administration when he made a major push for a package of gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook elementary School shooting in late 2012. While some politicians have been reluctant to confront guns, O’Malley campaign spokeswoman Haley Morris told Business Insider he has been “fearless” on the issue and plans to make it a prominent part of his 2016 platform.

“Governor O’Malley was fearless in taking on gun control in Maryland and ­standing up even to members of his own party to get results. This is an issue you will be hearing more about from him,” Morris said.

O’Malley sent an email to his supporters and said he was frustrated some people wait for “the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking” rather than “jumping to act.””This is not the America we want to be living in,” O’Malley wrote. “I’m pissed that we a€™re actually asking ourselves the horrific question of, what will it take? How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA when people are dying?”

Meanwhile, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who has not announced his candidacy, decided to underline the complicated history of the Civil War€ when he chimed in on the Confederate flag issue.  His comments were more than the generic talking points used by many others.

œ”This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War,” Webb wrote in a post on Facebook.

“The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades,” Webb said.  “It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.”Webb also took the time to dig more deeply into the issue.

“We should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.””This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect,” he said.

Meanwhile, there’s also former Rhode Island Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee. The ex-Republican is the only Democratic candidates to actually do an interview with The Skimm. More important, he tells is in another interview he isn’€™t worried about losing to Hillary Clinton.In a recent interviewwith Jorge Ramos, Chafee was asked if he believes Hillary Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War disqualifies her from running for the White House.

“Yes,”€ Chafee answered. “€œIt’€™s a huge mistake. $6 trillion, over 4,000 dead Americans. I think it’s a disqualifier.”Chafee was in fact the only Republican senator to vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein in 2002. “€œI did my homework, I didn’€™t vote for it. I didn’™t see the evidence of weapons of mass destruction.”

Ramos reminded Chafee that though he stands confident against Clinton, the numbers say otherwise: “I’€™ve seen the polls, and you’™re dead last. What’s your plan to win the Democratic nomination?”

“Well my premise has been that Secretary Clinton is not going to be the nominee,” Chafee asserted. “Then it’s down to Governor Chafee, Governor O’Malley, and Senator Sanders. And I’ll compare my record, my character, and my vision for the future very favorably. Even with Secretary Clinton, if you put her in the mix.”

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