Martin O’Malley Calls For A National Service Program, Let’s Talk About It

Martin O’Malley Calls For A National Service Program, Let’s Talk About It

The attention in the Democratic Party is focusing on Bernie Sanders’ rise and his sudden momentum toward frontrunner status in the polling at the expense of Hillary Clinton’s supposedly inevitable nomination. Meanwhile, however, Martin O’Malley is hovering somewhere in the single digits.

Martin O’Malley may be the most disregarded candidate in the Democratic Party, but last night’s debate saw O’Malley confidently present an alternative personality to the Democratic Party.

I imagine some readers may be unaware of O’Malley’s career in Democratic politics, so here are the basics:

Baltimore City Counselor (1991-1999)

Mayor of Baltimore (1999-2007)

Governor of Maryland (2007-2015)

As you can see, O’Malley has impressively put in time at every level of government, and he has also achieved many liberal goals in Maryland. These include overseeing the passage of gay marriage, repealing the death penalty, passing gun control, and allowing DREAMers to be eligible for in-state college tuition.

On the debate stage, O’Malley is an inoffensive blend of the bureaucratic pragmatism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the liberal idealism of Senator Bernie Sanders. He has so far been unable to attract much attention in the polling, but O’Malley debated vigorously last night despite his lack of allocated speaking time.

There is one area, however, in which Martin O’Malley truly is a unique candidate for the Democratic nomination: national service. O’Malley advocates a giant centralized program in which the government will offer service opportunities for citizens to give back to America while earning job experience and a debt-free college education.

O’Malley calls for developing a federal service corps that cooperates with federal agencies like a modern New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps in order to advance America’s infrastructure, energy revolution and emergency management. His plan also includes doubling Peace Corps membership, full employment for veterans, and linking military service to civilian service in order to better support veterans and military families.

This is a great idea to give Americans a patriotic opportunity to give back to their nation. It also will make it easier for low-income citizens to escape poverty and overcome barriers to higher education and good jobs. Check out O’Malley’s website. He has a good idea here, and Democrats should consider it because it is a strong proposal to help fully modernize America.

O’Malley also has published an ambitious plan of 15 goals that an O’Malley Administration would work to accomplish, and both Clinton and Sanders should consider his targets:

  1. Increase American families’ median net worth by $25,000 in 10 years
  2. Generate 100% of American electricity with renewable energy by 2050
  3. Cut the unemployment rate among young people in half within 3 years
  4. Reach full employment for American veterans by 2020
  5. Put 11 million new Americans on the pathway to citizenship through comprehensive immigration reform
  6. Ensure that all higher education students have the option to graduate debt-free within 5 years
  7. Improve college and career readiness, and increase college completion rates by 25% within 10 years
  8. End childhood hunger in America by 2020
  9. Reform our criminal justice system to save and redeem lives
  10. Cut deaths from gun violence—homicides, suicides, and accidents—in half by 2025
  11. Reduce deaths from drug overdoses by 25% by 2020
  12. Reduce infant mortality by 10% by 2020
  13. Require banks to separate commercial and speculative banking within 5 years
  14. Restore America’s competition and antitrust laws, taking action within 1 year in office
  15. Implement public financing of congressional campaigns within 5 years

Ambitious stuff. Certainly the Democratic debate could gain from discussing Martin O’Malley a little bit more.

Levi Olson

Levi Olson

Senior political columnist here at Contemptor, and a political scientist proving that American conservatism is a sham. Follow me on Tumblr at or on Facebook & Twitter @theleviolson.