Since We Last Spoke: Digital Justice, the New Normal, and McAuliffe's Moneyball

Updates to pastPacific Standard print stories.
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Updates to pastPacific Standard print stories.
Nebraska's oldest state park, Chadron State Park. (Photo: Public Domain)

Nebraska's oldest state park, Chadron State Park. (Photo: Public Domain)

DIGITAL JUSTICE
In our last issue, Amanda Hess decried police and federal inaction against the systematic abuse that women face online (“Women Aren’t Welcome Here,” January/February 2014). Since press time, there have been signs that at least one justice system has started to take these threats more seriously: In January, a Toronto man went on trial for criminally harassing three women on Twitter. “This is the first time that somebody has been charged for behavior that is exclusively on Twitter,” said Gil Zvulony, an Internet lawyer specializing in defamation, on CBC Radio.

Terry McAuliffe campaign officials said that one particular Facebook voter-mobilization experiment proved key for increasing youth turnout.

THE NEW NORMAL
Wade Leak, an openly gay man who was restoring a house in rural Nebraska with his partner, Jay Yost, recently celebrated his 50th birthday by performing a one-man cabaret—in Red Cloud, a square-mile town on the southern border of one of the nation’s reddest states (“Prairie Home Companions,” January/February 2014). Our writer Vince Beiser was surprised to find that this particular conservative redoubt welcomed Leak and Yost with open arms. More signs of the times: A few weeks after we went to press, federal judges in Oklahoma and Utah struck down state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Appeals are pending.

MCAULIFFE'S MONEYBALL
Modern political campaigns are mining consumer data—TV-watching habits, magazine subscriptions, beer of choice—and relying on online outreach strategies like never before. But as the Republican strategist Alex Lundry told our writers John Sides and Lynn Vavreck, “despite its sex appeal to the media, for the most part consumer data is only helpful on the margins” (“Inconclusive Results,” January/February 2014). Well, sometimes margins make all the difference. Terry McAuliffe was inaugurated governor of Virginia on January 11, having edged out his opponent by just two percentage points. After the election, McAuliffe campaign officials said that one particular Facebook voter-mobilization experiment proved key for increasing youth turnout.

This post originally appeared in the March/April 2014 issue of Pacific Standard as “Since We Last Spoke.” For more, subscribe to our print magazine.

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