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Martin O’Malley’s First Presidential Primary

His name isn’t on Tuesday’s ballot, but his future is

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Martin O’Malley, like any other politician, wants to be liked. And he’s trying really hard. This election cycle few have worked harder on behalf of the Democratic Party in states across the country than the Maryland governor. But many in the party have greeted O’Malley with little more than a shrug. As the 2016 presidential race launches the moment the Tuesday polls close, he’s attracting little interest nationally and—if it even seems possible—even less interest from his own constituents.

O’Malley’s failure to resonate as a national figure might come as a surprise to your everyday liberal activist familiar with only the governor’s vaunted résumé. As mayor of Baltimore he earned a tough-on-crime reputation and then turned around and banned capital punishment as governor, claiming the practice was “wasteful and ineffective.”

He signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in 2012 and then successfully campaigned to reject a ballot initiative that would have overturned it. He raised gas taxes, legalized medical marijuana, passed gun control and a state version of the DREAM Act, and led Maryland’s schools to five consecutive years at the top of Education Week’s rankings. And despite his liberal policies, Maryland didn’t become some high-tax business-repelling backwater—the state’s unemployment rate has remained steadily below the national average throughout his tenure, and the state’s median household income consistently ranks in the country’s top three or four. He has cultivated a reputation as a manager and a problem-solver, but also a social justice Catholic.

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Courting the GOP

Inside the Fight for the Heart and Soul of the Republican Party

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When Barack Obama took the stage at a fundraiser in New York City this summer, he was greeted with the kind of enthusiasm that had been largely absent from his second term as president. It had been a tough couple of years for Obama, who at the time was beleaguered with a scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The failed rollout of HealthCare.gov was still fresh in American minds, and, unknown to many, the ISIS threat quietly emerging in the Middle East would soon explode and upend the foreign policy of a president who first ran for office as a peace candidate.

For this night, though, Obama carried the kind of rockstar status that first propelled him to the Oval Office almost six years earlier. His audience wasn’t just Democrats, they were LGBT Democrats. He had been introduced at the fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee by two icons of the LGBT-rights movement: Edith Windsor, the elderly lesbian widow who sued the federal government over the Defense of Marriage Act and won, and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan. One day prior, the White House had announced Obama would at last make good on a campaign promise he made as a candidate for president in 2008 to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama thanked the audience for helping his administration “do more to protect the rights of lesbian, and gay, and bisexual and transgender Americans than any administration in history.” Read more

Ted Cruz lashes out at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage

While some members of the Republican Party may be evolving on the issue of marriage equality, Sen. Ted Cruz made clear Monday that he is not one of them.

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in five states — Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin — thus allowing lower court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage in those states to stand, Cruz lashed out at the nine Supreme Court justices for engaging in judicial activism at its worst. Read more