I TRIED. will prolly be the name of my biography.
I landed a fairly strong lead to interview the presidential candidate, Martin O’Malley, a few weeks ago. I won’t state his name. I don’t want to compromise his professionalism with my lack of professionalism. It came from a music connection I established in 2008 through my band, Latin For Truth. Him and a few friends ran the small label that released our debut full length, Eleven Eleven. So we’re friends, spite our wreck in 2009 leading to the album flopping hard. The music business is stupid and fickle. But, that’s another essay.
My friend was working for the small staff of Martin O’Malley as a web designer and took care of general online PR. I follow his Instagram and most of his feed was about the campaign. He’s a professional photographer so his feed is pretty solid. No shitty filters and smiling selfies in a bar surrounded by dead eye’d drunkards. A few months go by while I watch a parade of legit happenings in his life, and finally, I was stoned well enough to send him a message. I asked if I could interview him about his experiences in campaigning via direct message.
He replied with, “Why not interview Mr. O’Malley?”
I replied, “I’m unqualified.”
He said, “Nah, you can do it.”
So I began researching.
So for the next thirty hours, I watch eight hours of interviews and speeches, and read a hundred pages of interviews and platform statements. Still had work in the mornings, so I was burning midnight oil.
My conclusion after all the research was that O’Malley was a solid moderate candidate for moderate democrats compared to the wishy-washy Clinton, and the leftist, Sanders. With a larger staff and some support from a few super pacs, he would of done amazing. He has a few questionable stains on his record; after all, he inspired The Wire character Tommy Carcetti. But overall, strong candidate in the shit landscape of American binary politics. Good politician. Seems to give a shit about the people he represents.
I wrote up the proposal, the interview, included some facts about CLASH, and sent it to a few staffers. My friend assured me it was a layup. This was about ten days before the Iowa primaries. With the vote coming up, I thought we could easily land the interview. O’Malley had limited coverage in the formal media circuit, even Politifact gave little to no coverage of his campaign speeches or his statements in the democratic debates.
A week goes by. I’m getting antsy. I know O’Malley is polling at less than 2%, but my contact assures me that polls are arbitrary. Sanders didn’t have information on Iowa democrats till late October. The O’Malley camp has been staffed and at it since spring of 2015. They are well ahead in the face to face confirmation of real voters.
Phone polls are useless in predicting the outcome of elections. It’s really more of a media happening. With twenty-four hour news coverage, they need numbers to spit at people so those people can go about their day spitting the same numbers and the cycle of political happenings during election season can eventually be washed out by an overstimulation of misinformation and sociopolitical projection on false idols of change.
That’s also another essay. Back to the story.
Day of the Iowa primaries, I still have no reply. The primaries happen. Clinton performs as well as expected. Sanders does well. He loses by less than 1%. O’Malley gets wrecked.
Later that night, he announces he’s bowing out, and asks his supporters to rally around Bernie Sanders. From a distance, this is really what I expected, but after potentially landing an interview with the candidate, I’m bummed. It could have lead to more professional writing gigs or a step up for CLASH prestige.
Much like booking tours, I’d much rather get a go fuck yourself than no reply. It is what it is, though. I tried. I put in the work. Approached it in a formal manner. Nothing happened. Life moves forward.
Moral of the story is, Don’t be afraid to try. You can be uneducated Alabama trash, or you can be uneducated Alabama trash that tries. I’d rather try than wallow in lane I’ve been put in.
Shout out to the O’Malley camp for putting in the work. I know they all worked really hard for a year just to get that .6%. Here is the interview proposal and interview if you’re feeling curious about the process of these things.
Martin O’Malley Interview Proposal
CLASH MEDIA short Q&A
Hi, my name is Charles Ray Hastings Jr. I’m a twenty-nine year old Alabama musician and writer. I write for and represent a new media content provider, CLASH Media. We publish digital literature and paperback books, distribute independent films and podcasts, and we’re working our way into more unbiased political content.
The website essentially works as a forum for millennial writers. There we focus on curated essays ranging from serious sociopolitical ideas to basic cultural op-eds, similar to Vice, but with less on-the-nose click bait. What we’re providing has struck a chord with a young demo; 18 to 30 year olds, mostly women via Tumblr, and located all across the country.
I’m writing with the hope of accessing a small portion of Mr. O’Malley’s valuable time leading up to the Iowa caucus.
I’ve kept the questions fairly simple. There’s only ten. And I believe, specifically with our demo, currently all Clinton or Sanders supporters, it can raise visibility for the issues of Mr. O’Malley’s platform. In my conversations with friends and colleagues after speaking to them about Mr. O’Malley, they reacted only with positivity, so I think one of the issues with current polls is visibility of his talking points as a candidate.
I would be very happy to help Martin O’Malley and his team provide a face and a dialogue about his platform for a new audience. And, I think the topics I cover in this interview are strong interests of our demographic.
Thank you for your time,
Charles Ray Hastings Jr.