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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Baby Yoda photo: Jon Favreau's Instagram; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Baby Yoda, the juggernaut character from Disney+'s Star Wars series "The Mandalorian," is driving almost twice as many average social media interactions on news stories about it as any 2020 Democrat, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The internet's most memeable 50-year-old broke through the online conversation in a huge way since the show's Nov. 12 premiere — and its viral success should worry the 2020 race's late Democratic entrants, Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick.

The big picture: Both Bloomberg and Patrick staked their runs on the idea that voters would hungrily embrace a fresh face to shake up the 2020 race — but compared to Baby Yoda, they're not exactly capturing the public's imagination.

  • Baby Yoda's introduction coincided with both Bloomberg and Patrick announcing their bids. Bloomberg officially jumped into the race over the weekend — but spent weeks telegraphing his run — while Patrick entered on Nov. 14.
  • Both of the newest 2020 Democrats have had a significant number of articles written about them since Nov. 12. Bloomberg ranks second among the Democratic pack with 7,650, while Patrick slots into fourth with 4,044.
  • That media saturation doesn't necessarily translate to reader interest. With Baby Yoda in the mix with the 2020 Democrats, Bloomberg ranks 14th and Patrick 16th in terms of average interactions (likes, comments, shares) per story about them — and Baby Yoda has notched an average interaction rate 10 times higher than theirs.

By the numbers: In terms of raw interactions since Nov. 12, Baby Yoda's 2.28 million trail only the Democratic race's group of frontrunners — Joe Biden (8 million), Bernie Sanders (2.9 million) and Elizabeth Warren (2.53 million).

  • But the rate of interactions is massive when you consider that Baby Yoda would only rank 10th in terms of the number of articles (1,368) written about it.

The bottom line: Because this data only captures interactions with news stories, it doesn't take in the wealth of Baby Yoda memes, GIFs, and content native to social media — meaning that the character's reach is probably far wider.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
50 mins ago - Health

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The CDC moved too slowly at several points in the coronavirus pandemic, ultimately hindering the U.S. response, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb writes in a new book, Uncontrolled Spread.

The big picture: The book argues that American intelligence agencies should have a much bigger role in pandemic preparedness, even if that's sometimes at the expense of public health agencies like the CDC.

911's digital makeover

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The big picture: U.S. emergency communications have remained stubbornly analog, but Congress is about to take another run at dragging 911 into the digital age.

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President Biden convened a meeting of top business leaders Wednesday to build support for a sweeping vaccine mandate that will affect most of America's workers. The message: Vaccines work, and the stalled uptake is holding back the economy.

Why it matters: As vaccine rates have flattened across the country, business leaders have the power to impact their employees’ decisions. Many corporate leaders had been looking for stronger federal guidance to lean on.