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Dems: Nominate Martin O’Malley for president!

Hey, Democrats! No matter how much you like Hillary Clinton – and if she runs, she’s certainly a very solid favorite to win the presidential nomination in 2016 – what you want to be doing now is getting Martin O’Malley to run. And Andrew Cuomo. And Joe Biden. And Amy Klobuchar. And maybe two or three others.

Why? Because competition for nominations is the best way for most of us to really affect what happens in a democracy. A walkover for Clinton would mean that Democrats – activists, donors, party officials and staff, and everyone else – would give up their best chance for leverage over the political system.

Indeed, this gets into what democracy really is and how it functions. The key is the limited ability of voters-as-just-voters to really do much. After all, suppose you voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in November. What message did you send? That you liked the Affordable Care Act? Wanted to reward Obama for the death of bin Laden? Didn’t like Paul Ryan’s House budget? Support marriage equality, or abortion rights, or voting rights? Oppose the war in Iraq? Or perhaps you happen to be expressing ethnic solidarity with Obama; perhaps you are a bigot and don’t like Mormons. Or maybe you didn’t like the 47 percent stuff, or you’re punishing the GOP for George W. Bush. Maybe you just like the cut of Barack Obama’s jib.

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