‘Pints and Politics’ with Martin O’Malley
On Sept. 5 at Confluence Brewery in Des Moines Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley held “Pints and Politics.” Prior to the event’s start, a sizable crowd gathered and many were drinking one of Confluence’s many craft beers, sitting in groups playing board games or mingling among themselves. It was a diverse crowd, including people of all ages, even children; there was little that united the crowd other than a sense of excitement about O’Malley’s arrival.
O’Malley’s arrival sent applause through the audience. Enthusiastic, he made his way through the crowd to complete a Confluence ritual and “pour a pint,” which he began drinking with vigorous speed. While O’Malley made his way throughout the crowd, a middle-aged man named John Olsen approached him and asked him to sign a pin stating what he, “gives a damn about.” O’Malley’s response was “our kids.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Olsen about his experiences with the Iowa caucus system. Olsen, who is not a native Iowan, said the caucuses are important to him because it gets Iowans to pay attention to the election. Olsen, however, said he is not supporting O’Malley at this point, simply taking the time to get to know the candidates while also hopefully waiting for Vice President Joe Biden to announce his bid for the presidency.
O’Malley’s speech followed a fairly typical format; he described himself as the candidate for the future generation and said unlike many candidates he has 15 years of executive experience. O’Malley also noted his successes as governor, including halting tuition increases for five years and signing a marriage equality law. O’Malley finished by telling the audience about his plan for immigration reform, including providing legal work for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.