Monday, April 11, 2016

Last Call For Social Faux Pas

This Carl Bialik story at FiveThirtyEight profiling Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and his quest to leverage his substatial social media presence into a campaign for Mayor of Baltimore may be the most FiveThirtyEight story ever:

On Twitter, Mckesson, 30, is the most prominent voice in a grass-roots movement to ensure that black lives matter. But at this stage of the race, in late March, he’d been struggling to gain an audience in his campaign to be mayor of his hometown, where he’d filed to run at the deadline in February,surprising other candidates and many of his activist allies. He was fighting criticism that he is a carpetbagger: a creature largely of Twitter and of the places other than Baltimore where he has protested and rallied. Fewer than 1 percent of voters in the most recent Baltimore Sun poll of the race had said they were going to vote for him. He had about a month to change thousands of minds.

Mckesson is bidding to lead a city of 623,000 that lost 344 of its people to homicide last year, is undertaking the most comprehensive set of agency audits in decades, is considering one of the largest taxpayer-subsidized developments in the country, is failing to help most young students meet college and career readiness standards and is still reeling from the death of Freddie Gray while in custody of the city’s police department last year. Mckesson is one of 13 contenders in the April 26 Democratic primary, effectively the general election in a city where eight of nine voters in 2012 cast a ballot for President Obama. (Five Republicans, four Green Party candidates, two independents, five unaffiliated candidates and a libertarian are also running.) 
The Sun poll showed half the vote going to two longtime political insiders: former Mayor Sheila Dixon and state Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh. (Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced in September that she wouldn’t run for re-election, amid low approval ratings and criticism of her leadership during the unrest after Gray’s death.)
Mckesson and many of the other candidates are trying to tap into a desire for change, citing what they say are their city government’s failings — its inability to stop the state from canceling a long-planned train line, to complete the audits to cut waste, or to protect its people from violence from one another or their police officers. 
Mckesson was part of the protests calling for police accountability after Gray’s death, as he was in Ferguson, Missouri, after the killing of Michael Brown in August 2014, and a dozen other places over the past 20 months. Last August, he and fellow activists launched a set of policy proposals,Campaign Zero, that they say will help reduce police violence. And he has met with Obama, as well as Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to press them to back Campaign Zero’s policy proposals. 
Yet he is building his mayoral campaign on a broader pitch: that he is not only the candidate best positioned to increase police accountability, but also the one who wants to get down and dirty with lower-profile issues, even ones as uncomfortable as cockroaches’ effect on asthma or as obscure asEnvironmental Protection Agency consent decrees and stormwater runoff. He says the next mayor must address problems at scale and measure outcomes. He’d assign his senior staff to meet monthly with community leaders and talk policy. “The weeds are the work,” he said.

Mckesson is a hell of an activist and more power to him.  But I'm pissed off that it takes 34 paragraphs to get down to answering the article's question:

So far, his donations and Twitter followers haven’t paid off in the polls. Thelatest Sun poll, conducted from April 1 to April 4, still showed Mckesson getting support from less than 1 percent of voters.

So you've read pages to get down to the point that Deray Mckesson has less than one percent in the polls and has no chance of becoming Mayor of Baltimore.  None.  It's a gigantic waste of time.

Data journalism at its finest.

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