Sep 30, 2008

Fantasy Politics: Democracy at its finest

by Natalie Lozano

The number one complaint I hear about the 2008 election is that neither candidate is particularly spectacular. In every election, people of the opposing party find as much as possible to criticize about either candidate, however this year there are significant vices to criticize in each.

I propose putting a fantasy sports twist on your vote; picking and choosing what you like and forming a winning team based on the best principles of each.

For example, maybe you agree with Obama’s foreign policy, but not his ideas about the economy. McCain, you believe, may be weak on his personal beliefs about abortion and instead advocates the position of his constituents.

Because you think that neither candidate has an excellent and feasible solution to the problem of illegal immigration, you decide to draw from a pre-primary nominee who suggested an electric fence border.

Like the different offensive and defensive players of great NFL teams, you decide what positions each person is best in and only allow them to “play” at those moments.

Of course, the situation would only work if, like Fantasy Football, you could trade players who weren’t performing at their best. If McCain’s sarcasm bothers you, well, trade him for Biden.

If Obama just can’t succeed in bringing the economy back around (without a $700 billion contribution from willing taxpayers), then maybe the shop-around skills of hockey mom Palin can get the economy back on its feet.

We wouldn’t expect them to work together, because, like any football team, that would require not just a good coach, but a wise and wealthy owner such as Cowboy’s powerhouse Jerry Jones, holding contracts and bonuses over their heads.

What would really make this work is the potential passion with which the American population could support it. According to ESPN staff writer Bill Simmons, an estimated 15 million people participate in fantasy football leagues, each week competing with friends and strangers while cheering on players from all across the NFL. Rather than exuding loyalty for their home team exclusively, fantasy football competitors are watching extra games to keep tabs on how their players are faring.

Such in-depth competition requires participants to know the statistics of each player. ESPN gets the information across by scrolling stats across the bottom of the screen. Since CNN already has a scroll bar, we would just have to persuade them to constantly tell us how our political players are faring in their different positions.

I imagine it would read something like this: “Co-President McCain won three points after persuading Congress etc .... Co-President Obama also gained three points after meeting with global leaders yesterday.... Neither player was available for comment and both are currently relaxing in opposite wings of the White House.”

People who have any of the big players, including the members of the Senate on their team during key decisions, will get points for victories like effective mediation and refusing to be swayed by lobbyists.

If you’re holding onto a politician who has an off-week, you can wallow in the thoughts of the points you could have had. After all, in America, we like to win.


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