A real-life Carcetti slips
One of the more interesting New York elections in Tuesday’s primaries was the state’s 11th Congressional District. The 11th represents a sizeable portion of Brooklyn, and the majority of its electoral base is African-American (which, it goes without saying, means they vote Democratic, making this primary the de facto general election). Four candidates ran in the primary, three of whom were African-American. The fourth candidate, David Yassky, was white, presenting a potential problem that political scientists and, apparently, the writers of The Wire cannot get enough of: the possibility of a minority-majority district being represented by a majority-minority politician. Alas, Yassky lost yesterday — see here for more on the fallout — but the conundrums of a white politician representing a black political district will surely be an issue The Wire will grapple with this season and, by extension, one which we token scribes will have to address as well.
It’s no mystery that Carcetti is an allusion to Martin O’Malley, Baltimore’s current mayor and the Democratic nominee for Maryland’s gubernatorial election. In 2000, O’Malley, an ambitious and loquatious city councilman, won the mayoral election against two African-American opponents. Although there was no incumbent in that election — the former mayor Kurt Schmoke had exhausted his term limiits — there was no question that O’Malley benefitted from the two African-American candidates splitting Baltimore’s black base, a formidable voting bloc constituting two-thirds of the city’s population. It bears mentioning, however, that O’Malley won 53% of the vote (cf. here) indicating he had political strength greater than Carcetti, who, given his tantrums and depressing poll numbers, will almost certainly need a plurality to eek out a victory.
My prediction: Tony Gray, the dark horse, improves as the season goes along, pulling votes from Royce. I give Carcetti the election — he’s got to win, right? — with 36% of the vote, with the remaining 64% split evenly between Royce and Gray.