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.

Explore posts in the same categories: Carcetti for Mayor, Race

9 Comments on “A real-life Carcetti slips”

  1. Shoals Says:

    for as much time as gets spent figuring out how the wire refers to reality, at one point does the show get deemed prophetic?

    there’s that strange case (that i spent over a year trying to write a shit paper on) in which dealers inspired by the show had started using disposable phones. i wonder how long it is before hamsterdam becomes a model for public policy.

  2. Shoals Says:

    at what point, i mean

  3. christycash Says:

    I think that Hamsterdam is suppposed to be a more extreme version of Baltimore under Kurt Schmoke, isn’t it? http://www.thenation.com/doc/19990920/shenk

  4. Ben Yaster Says:

    Not quite. No city in America, that I’m aware of, has actually attempted a drug decriminalization program. Kurt Schmoke was friendly to treating drug addicts rather than prosecuting them, but a police-controlled “free zone” never happened.

    Kurt Schmoke did, famously, broach the idea of decriminalizing drugs, and was thoroughly trounced in the media for it. You can find his comments here, in a National Review archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/12feb96/drug.html.

    Also, for those of you unfamiliar with Baltimore politics, Kurt Schmoke makes a fitting appearance in the third season of the Wire. He is in Mayor Royce’s office deliberating the merits of Hamsterdam and says something to the effect: “If you do this, the media will call you the most dangerous man in America!”

  5. Ben Yaster Says:

    Sorry, let me rephrase: No city has tried a Hamsterdam decriminalization program. Clearly, a number of jurisdictions have decriminlized marijuana for certain citizens, albeit to mixed effect and without the broad public policy goals envisioned by Hamsterdam’s makers.

  6. christycash Says:

    Whoa that is really cool about Schmoke being in the Wire… and you’re right, I just reread the story. Seems like it has more resonance with the real-life The Corner (the politics of access to treatment etc.) than with Hamsterdam… Although any tiny step towards treating drugs as a public health problem and not a crime is a good one…

  7. Shoals Says:

    plenty of cities have (or have had) open-air drug markets that experience little police interference. while i know that’s not the same as police encouragement, it was kind of like de facto approval.

    then again, there were still drugs elsewhere, and the police didn’t chaffeur dealers there. and a lot of those places eventually prompted super-excessive policy reactions (SAFE STREETS, STAND UP!!!!!!)

  8. faux_rillz Says:

    “Not quite. No city in America, that I’m aware of, has actually attempted a drug decriminalization program.”

    Nor are the creators of the show aware of any such experiment–Ed Burns confirmed in a recent interview, that Hamsterdam was drawn stritcly formt he writers’ imaginations.

  9. Tom Says:

    I doubt we’ll see a Hamsterdam-like experiment anytime soon. Conservatives won’t do it because, deep down, they approve of the status quo. And Liberals won’t do it for fear that they’ll be torn to pieces when election season comes.


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