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Fantasy Congress

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Fantasy sports is a hobby of statistics. Friends and colleagues compete to assemble all star fantasy teams in football and baseball, earning points for the performance of each individual player week to week. The activity necessitates that one quickly learn the nuances of the sport and habitually track the outcome of each game as they manage their rosters in anticipation of the coming week’s matches. Fantasy sports are an entertainment enjoyed by thousands who invest hearts, time and wallets in their duty as fantasy coaches. But what if this same model were applied to a nobler cause? What if the incessant watching, anticipation and debate that fantasy sports affords our lesser heroes could be somehow engendered in the ones that truly matter, and that too often escape the oversight and reproach of the common man. I’m speaking of course about our nation’s congress. Imagine thousands of children and adults across America forming their own fantasy congress leagues, drafting their favorite leaders from the upper and lower chambers, and following their performance each week as they attend committee meetings, vote on amendments, filibuster and rise or fall in the polls. By adding a little competition, we could see the same attention to detail and anticipation over hotly contested outcomes in our political arenas as well as our sporting arenas. The beauty is that the stage is already perfectly set. As fivethirtyeight.com demonstrated during the 2008 election, the only pastime that has more data and statistics to pour over than baseball is American politics. Starting with the mid-term elections in 2010, we could see political fans across America drafting fantasy congressional teams comprised of their favorite incumbents and challengers, deciding whom to “play” each week as their poll numbers rise and fall. And perhaps, as a functional fantasy political system emerges, it will bring us closer to a functioning real political system as well.
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Written by Andrew

February 24th, 2010 at 12:34 am

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3 Responses to 'Fantasy Congress'

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  1. This is an awesome idea, at least to someone who is highly interested in politics.

    You could “score” your legislators from different perspectives: on one end, placing bets of sorts on whether or not they will win the next election; on the other, based on whether they keep their promises / whether or not a legislator represents your three strongest policy interests. There are many options in between.

    If a critical mass of activists got involved in such a fantasy league, it could be a much more effective and transparent way for legislators to receive feedback from their constituents on how they score on issues individually and how they score as legislators on the whole.

    Preston

    24 Feb 10 at 22:47

  2. I just came across this blog post, which is similar to your idea: http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/05/11/a-game-of-fantasy-cabinet/
    PrestonĀ“s last blog ..Photography Workshop

    Preston

    12 May 10 at 04:25

  3. The concept has been tried once before and seemed somewhat successful until it shut down abruptly when the creator moved on to another project, it seems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Congress

    Peter

    29 Aug 10 at 11:36

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