The optimists will say that democratic government is a system that represents the individual beliefs of citizens, transforming the will of the masses into thoughtful policy. The syncs skeptics and pessimists will say that it is more like a game of “political football” with two opposing sides struggling for power and attention using any tactics they see fit. For purposes of discussion this post shall focus on the latter view of government to see if there is something that we can learn from exploring the sports analogy.
The similarities between sports and politics have been a previous topic of discussion here. Often politics seem more like a color war than a debate. It seems that elected officials rarely try to understand the views of their opponent, but rather appeal on a superficial level to attract the swing voters, the bandwagon fans in this analogy.
Thinking about politics like sports got me wondering. It seems like people are much more engaged in sports than in the political process. True fans track sports center, keep track of stats and drafts, and even join fantasy leagues where they can trade and track their own imaginary teams.
To be fair, politics are tracked similarly, with c-span on all the time, and all sorts of digest shows available. It seems like the portrayal of the political arena could learn a little something from the sports arena. Why not a political show that felt more like sports center? It’s show design could easily be copied for meaningful political debates. You could track the results of the most recent bills, see highlight reels with great points (and bloopers) from the day’s proceedings. Pardon the Interruption(PTI) would be perfect for people who want to get a flavor for the issues, but not slog through the lengthy debate. We could cover the primaries in the same manner as the draft picks are followed. Instead of height, weight, 40 yd time and rushing yards, we could have quick stats on politicians to cover voting record, campaign donations received.
All this boils down to the title question; is there a way to set up a “fantasy government”? Google indicates that a few have tried several years ago.
My cursory searches did not reveal how these systems actually worked, but it seems like it would be really tough to keep track.
Considering how important the political process is – seems like we ought to find a way to make it more entertaining and engaging. At this point, I’m open to crazy ideas like cheerleaders, gameshow contests or bracket pools.
The ultimate goal is to get people more engaged in the political process.