Premature Evaluation: The Political Machine 2016

As ugly as the democratic process can sometimes be, it still has one or two advantages over hereditary monarchy. After all, even the most craven and corrupt politician requires some sort of conniving wherewithal to get into power, though this far from guarantees that they will use it to any decent end. This said - and as The Political Machine suggests - the importance of money and mass-media in the States has eroded the need for any other credential, and with shitbubbles like Trump in the running, you have to wonder if the mixture of inherited wealth and empty celebrity he embodies really does much to set himself apart from the sort of high-born cretins who too frequently took the throne in centuries past.

Each week Marsh Davies unleashes a patriotic aquiline shriek and swoops upon the home of the brave that is Early Access, bringing freedom by way of cash-purchased endorsements and glib media-ready soundbites to all he meets. This week, these skills will hopefully propel him all the way to the White House in The Political Machine 2016 [Steam page], a timely update of the presidential campaign strategy game in which candidates scoot between states, bellowing platitudes to the credulous and smarming their way through interviews while doing everything to sabotage their opponents.

The candidates and hot-button issues may have changed, but these, the game suggests, are almost trivial details alongside the monstrous apparatus of the media. Which is possibly one justification for why The Political Machine 2016 is so much like The Political Machine 2012, compounding the series’ cynical message that elections aren’t won by principled stands or coherent, evidence-based policy-making, but instead by the more timeless tactics of pandering to prejudice, by buying endorsements, by slickly meaningless performance and by the attritional war waged on the national psyche via a 24-hour news presence. If you can just get your name ringing like tinnitus inside the public’s collective head then you’re halfway to the White House.

But which blundering leader of ages past could be considered the most unqualified of all? Evil rulers are ten a penny, of course - but truly, obnoxiously useless ones? Even in the halls of history there are few who have lost quite the amount of money as Trump has, but George IV must threaten his crown as a vapid, bloated profligate. Here’s how The Times newspaper announced his death: “There was never an individual less regretted by his fellow creatures than this deceased king.” Imagine a Murdoch paper saying that today. As George’s contemporary, the politician and man of letters Horace Walpole put it, the king was a “bad son, a bad husband, a bad father, a bad subject, a bad monarch, and a bad friend.” Not since Henry VIII had a king indulged his appetite to quite the degree of George IV. Henry, though clearly a maniac, at least had some qualities befitting a monarch, but George’s greatest gift to the British people, it has been said, was merely dying.

Though The Political Machine might be more caricature than simulation, in a year when the Republican primaries are an unprecedented cavalcade of hooting dipshittery, you might have to concede that the game’s scorn for the substance of policy is not without justification. But how does the game balance such extremes? To find out, I would have to play as the dipshittiest hooter possible. But who could claim, even among this debased troupe of howling scumwanks, to be truly the emptiest bellowing meathole of the lot?

Hello, Donald.

The game’s bobblehead representation of him is a surprising likeness, if rather flattering, giving him a pert little pout instead of an unspooled Cumberland sausage for a mouth, not quite capturing the horrifying pillowy hamscape of his face. He, of all the possible candidates, offers the most extreme credentials. He has close to zero credibility, but he does have an absolute fuckton of money. A win for Trump would be to double-down on the game’s inherent cynicism, the nightmarish embrace of true nihilism. So, I’m going for it.

As my opponent, I pick Hillary Clinton – relatively principled, high-profile and a skilled political operator. If Trump can beat her it will be truly, exquisitely dismaying. As the campaign begins – a short one at 21 weeks – some of the states are already predisposed to our candidacies. Hillary’s cloying goodie-two-shoes liberality already appeals strongly to those pastrami-swollen New York yuppies, turning it and the surrounding coastal states a tentative blue. She also claims the bleeding-hearts and skunk-muddled minds of Washington, New Mexico and a handful of other cheesemaking states clustered in the north around Wisconsin. And of course she has California, where for some reason it’s still legal to wear a bow-tie while skateboarding. Disgusting.

That’s not wholly fair - he did help found the National Gallery and King’s College - but that might just be about it. Previous Georges also got a bad rap during their reign, but have since been a little redeemed. George I was considered “too German”, taciturn and dull - but he was a progressive ruler, who encouraged the enlightenment and endured his critics without any attempt to censor them. George II, initially characterised as a bad-tempered boor prone to philandering, was the last king to lead his troops into battle personally, proved himself relatively skilled in the manipulation of military and foreign affairs, and outmaneuvered the last of the Jacobite uprisings. George III famously went mad, and, as an antagonist in the war of American independence, has been painted a tyrant - but now he seems a victim of circumstance, who, prior to succumbing to porphyria-induced insanity, oversaw the agricultural revolution and lived relatively frugally.

But a real rain is coming, make no mistake, and it’s sweeping in from the West. Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska and South Dakota are all Trump-friendly, presumably because of my sympathetic stance on pistol-whipping children who forget to say grace. Trump doesn’t actually have this as an explicit campaign principle, but certain aspects of his platform are assumed from the outset – that he is in favour of repealing Obamacare, pro military-spending and generally more able to get the endorsement of frothy right-leaning organisations than he is, say, The National Organization for the Support of Colored People. But while it’s certainly tempting to go full wingnut, to win the White House I’ll need to broaden my appeal without betraying my existing base. To whit, I decide to make the less controversial positions of strengthening the military and deficit reduction the two main pillars of my candidacy. Luckily I never have to say how I’ll achieve either; the game doesn’t interrogate any stance in detail and rarely forces you to mention issues beyond those you’ve chosen as your platform – though I’m not sure if this is a major failing of the game or of American politics as a whole.

I begin, as Hillary does, in New York, but quickly decide that this is a state I am happy to concede to the Blue Team, and only partly because a taxi driver was rude to me there once. You can switch between different colour-coded visualisations of the states – their current voting inclination, the relative voting power, their wealth and so on. One view also provides you with a planning mode, allowing you to mark which states you ideally wish to win – and it comes pre-filled with a suggested gameplan which hews close to their past voting habits. It suggests that the North East is probably Hillary’s no matter what I do, and I am better off focussing on states I can swing. Fine. I’ve never liked bagels anyway.

Not so much George IV. Coming to power first as Regent, while his father’s madness left the king incapacitated, he managed to spend a prodigious amount of money on obscene gluttony, lavish building projects and absurd clothes even before he claimed the crown. Prior to this, the debts he accrued as a mere prince were enormous. In 1787, parliament was forced to bail him out to the tune of £24 million in today’s money. By 1795, he had somehow gone another £58 million into the red. The King - whether in a period of lucidity or madness it is uncertain - only agreed to help clear these debts so long as the young George found himself a legitimate wife and heir, and to put aside the illegitimate marriage to a twice-widowed Catholic commoner he had made some years prior without anyone’s consent (and, indeed, against the law, since it was prohibited for a Catholic to ascend the throne). Instead he was obliged to marry Caroline of Brunswick. It didn’t go well.

Travelling betweens states costs very few of your action points on a given turn, and a state visit will boost awareness of your campaign in itself, making your grandstanding there more effective. Speeches are a huge drain on action points, while advertising campaigns are a huge monetary expense – and both of these efforts can go against you unless you’ve judged the material well. Click a button and you can see a comprehensive breakdown of the issues most important to a particular state, and how the support or opposition for them splits among voters for either party. While you can bang the same drum everywhere you go, it may be more effective to tailor your words to local concerns – although I found this very hard to do when crafting speeches. Partly this is because the UI currently provides entirely contradictory information about the importance and support for issues, but mostly because, whatever I say or do, Trump’s speeches are entirely ineffectual. Even when I come out swinging on issues that reportedly have unanimous support across the political spectrum, the game declares a -0% change in my approval ratings.

Perhaps this is because Trump has no credibility – but the tool-tip says this stat only affects negative campaigning (when, instead of supporting an issue, you moan on about how terrible your opponent’s stance is). At no point in my campaign does a speech deliver me more than a 1% swing either way, and most of the time it achieves no change at all. Man, I think, I can’t buy a win! Then I realise that, being Trump, I probably can. I think advertising is more effective – and it should be for the millions I spend on it – but it’s a slow burn, and there is no clear data I could find to indicate its worth.

His first meeting with his wife-to-be involved no more gracious an introduction than a silent, grudging embrace, after which George promptly left the room, demanding brandy. The marriage itself was worse - George being so shitfaced as to be barely able to stand. He spent the wedding night slumped unconscious in a fireplace. Understandably enough, Caroline didn’t stick around any longer than she had to - once a child was born, they formally separated, Caroline leaving the country entirely to escape her grotesque husband. In her absence George found solace in numerous mistresses and sired a number of illegitimate children. When the old king finally died, George sought any means to prevent Caroline from attending his coronation. He, much like Henry VIII before him, tried to change the law to annul his marriage, attempting to pass a bill which would essentially accuse the almost-Queen of infidelity. This proved wildly unpopular with the people and, fearing revelation of George’s own adulteries, the bill was scrapped before going through the Commons. Being a petulant shitbag, of course, George nonetheless remained adamant Caroline should not attend the coronation, and, mysteriously, she fell ill on the very day and died within a month. She believed she had been poisoned.

I can also build headquarters to gain an income from a state, or establish outreach centres and consulting offices. Each of these return a resource over time that you can then spend. Consulting offices give you the political capital to hire agents who provide state or countrywide buffs, like improving the potency of your speeches or intimidating your opponent’s supporters. Meanwhile, outreach centres amass PR clout, eventually enabling you to secure endorsements from authoritative institutions. These are divided evenly into Republican and Democrat (no prizes for guessing which way the National Gun Owner’s Association falls), and though you can snag either, those of the opposing colour are twice the resource cost. The game is, as in many areas, unclear as to how this actually alters your support – getting the nod from one organisation or another seems to swing the numbers my way, but would, say, getting an endorsement from the unions irk Trump’s carefully nurtured base of Randian free market twonks?

It’s not something I find out – indeed, while taking an interview for 60 Seconds I suggest that the unions should be battered and deep fried. And, despite being a damp squib on stage, Trump’s gurning flab generally does well in front of cameras. Interviews such as these take the form of quickfire multiple-choice questions where you need to judge the audience’s likely demographic and respond with the appropriate soundbite. My comment about the unions doesn’t go down that well, but I storm a later interview with the game’s parodic stand-in for Bill O’Reilly by deploying a few borderline-racist quotes about, appropriately, the borderline.

Whether or not George’s assholery extended to murder is uncertain, but he certainly did little more to distinguish his reign as monarch. His main contribution was in obstructing religious freedom by being a complete prick over the question of Catholic emancipation - which led the Duke of Wellington to declare him “the worst man he ever fell in with his whole life, the most selfish, the most false, the most ill-natured, the most entirely without one redeeming quality”. Instead, George mostly just ate and drank, bloating to a corpulence that - along with laudanum addiction - largely paralysed him. As the artist David Wilkie put it, he looked like “a great sausage stuffed into the covering”, and his vast mass periodically needed to be surgically drained to prevent excessive fluid building up in his abdomen. Not that such suffering endeared him greatly to anyone who met him. As Charles Greville, the Clerk to the Privy Council, recorded in his diary: “I have long had [the opinion] that a more contemptible, cowardly, selfish, unfeeling dog does not exist than this King, on whom such flattery is constantly lavished. He has a sort of capricious good-nature, arising however out of no good principle or good feeling, but which is of use to him, as it cancels in a moment and at small cost a long score of misconduct.” Though in his final years as a bloated, blind, drug-addled invalid it is said George became quite pious, this did little to change the public mood. Few kings have been so openly unmourned. He was, in short, a total penis.

Things look a little hairy for a while: the Republican heartlands don’t warm to me quickly and Clinton is off to a much more efficient start, zipping between coasts with great purpose. But things start to swing back my way. Even California begins to quail beneath my charm offensive – by which I mean relentless propagandising. TV and leafletting campaigns bluster about social security, jobs and the deficit – things that have broad cross-party approval – while I’m comfortable enough now in my Republican support that I can risk making a concession on marijuana legislation. Nowhere, do I mention my intended pogrom of bowtie-wearing skaters. California and Pennsylvania both turn a virulent purple colour, indicating that they are in close contention, while most of the other states begin to fall more definitely to blue or red.

Some way into the campaign, we each choose our running mates, who act as a moveable, localised buff. I dump Jeb Bush in Pennsylvania and hope for the best, while zipping round the southern and central states, shoring up support, corroding their collective sanity with ceaseless advertisement. I am close to bankrupt, but my massive spend pays off: more and more states declare a ten percent clearance for Team Trump in the polls. For no real reason other than vindictiveness, I hire a mobster to neutralise one of Clinton’s fundraisers in California. I like to think that the next day she receives a parcel containing a fish in a bow-tie.

Still, at least he wasn’t as bad as Donald Trump.

Election night hits, and red sweeps the board, with the exception of the cold, urbane irrelevance of the north east and some backwater called Washington. I even take California, consigning nearly all of America’s game journalists to a hard death in a labour camp. Boom! President Trump.

America, you’re fired.

The Political Machine is a jolly old time, but currently doesn’t feel transparent enough to be a wholly satisfying system to manipulate, and is probably too cute in its representation of politics to be as edifying as, say, Democracy 3. The UI needs a massage, too. But as an agonised wail at the blaring televisual hollowness of US political posturing, it serves its purpose, and in this latest refresh we find an apt and timely parody. We can only hope it is not a prophecy, too.

The Political Machine 2016 is available from Steam for £7. I played version 0.601 on 20/11/2015.

72 Comments

Top comments

  1. Punning Pundit says:

    I can't help but feel that the game suffers (as a game) from a profound lack of understanding about American politics.

    For instance: I'd start the game in the primary phase, and let you try and win state by state. I'd throw some noise into the world economy, and let that effect the national economy, and have that fluctuation affect your polls.

    I'd have a system for volunteer outreach, which would have to be nurtured early, but become self perpetrating by the midgame.

    Oh! And all those endorsements? Each organization would help you (according to your party), but actively winning their endorsements would double the effect.

    This game's primary sin (based on past versions) is that _no one_ enters the Presidential race de novo. History always matters, both personal and party. Sometimes the best a candidate can do is beat expectations, not actually win the race.

    Maybe one goal for an incumbent with a good record in office would be to get their party a bigger share of Congress. And hey! Congresspeople are good surrogates for your party.

    Etc

    Source for this: years and years of campaigning.
  1. Bracknellexile says:

    “an unprecedented cavalcade of hooting dipshittery”

    Well that’s the ‘phrase of the week’ award wrapped up! I must remember that one and use it in polite conversation, possibly about the Tory benches during PMQs.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      I came here to say more or less the same thing. Pretty sure Mr. Davies can take home his paycheck based on that sentence alone.

    • Pockets says:

      I preferred “But who could claim, even among this debased troupe of howling scumwanks, to be truly the emptiest bellowing meathole of the lot?”

    • rabbit says:

      agreed

  2. RabbitIslandHermit says:

    Are they going to add a Reichstag fire option? I want my Trump campaign to be as realistic as possible.

  3. Boosterh says:

    As a Canadian I have to say, that the most frustrating thing about following American politics is the colours.

    Red should be for the bleeding-heart socialists, the heirs to the communists of yore, who will tax the working man of all his money and give it to the lazy masses on welfare.

    Blue is the colour of the new aristocracy, those cold hearted corporate barons who would let a child starve rather than give him a meal out of their unearned wealth.

    Why the devil do you you insist on doing it backwards, America?

    • RabbitIslandHermit says:

      Blame the news media during the 2000 election (in fact, blame them for a lot of other things too, but I digress). Prior to that it was often, though not always, swapped.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Viewing the Democratic Party as any kind of heirs to socialism is a grave insult to socialists the world over.

      Also, I think the Republicans got bored of the whole aristocracy thing after Romney. Right now I’m pretty sure their party platform is racism and general insanity.

  4. Punning Pundit says:

    I can’t help but feel that the game suffers (as a game) from a profound lack of understanding about American politics.

    For instance: I’d start the game in the primary phase, and let you try and win state by state. I’d throw some noise into the world economy, and let that effect the national economy, and have that fluctuation affect your polls.

    I’d have a system for volunteer outreach, which would have to be nurtured early, but become self perpetrating by the midgame.

    Oh! And all those endorsements? Each organization would help you (according to your party), but actively winning their endorsements would double the effect.

    This game’s primary sin (based on past versions) is that _no one_ enters the Presidential race de novo. History always matters, both personal and party. Sometimes the best a candidate can do is beat expectations, not actually win the race.

    Maybe one goal for an incumbent with a good record in office would be to get their party a bigger share of Congress. And hey! Congresspeople are good surrogates for your party.

    Etc

    Source for this: years and years of campaigning.

    • SuddenSight says:

      If you make this game, I will buy it. Just sayin’.

    • Chiron says:

      Corporate sponsorship needs to be a massive part as well.

    • Noumenon says:

      Don’t sell yourself short: attracting experienced campaign professionals and pollsters should help you too.

  5. Carlos Danger says:

    Just another proglodyte article written by the numbers. Probably could have done it in your sleep at this point.

    • rabbit says:

      as opposed to the right’s preferred tactic of insults & emotional arguments without foundation, which takes considerable effort.

  6. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    I came here for that alt text. I wasn’t disappointed.

    • Shar_ds says:

      Here Here! A fine display of alt-text attention!

      • Smuckers says:

        As an American, I do gotta say that I found that alt-text to be incredibly fascinating. So much so, that I still haven’t read the article itself!

  7. Jerppa says:

    Trumpamania running wild!

  8. laser-gods says:

    Hilary Clinton, “relatively principled”. Ha, good one.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Careful, you’re talking about your next president there.

      • RealityJones says:

        You meant the next President of her cell-block’s wing. ;) FTFY.

      • minijedimaster says:

        Ha! Eternal optimist I see. Like the current emperor in chief is ever going to leave office. Just waiting for the hammer to drop.

      • Mr_Blastman says:

        Damn well better not be.

  9. AngoraFish says:

    … compounding the series’ cynical message that elections aren’t won by principled stands or coherent, evidence-based policy-making, but instead by the more timeless tactics of pandering to prejudice, by buying endorsements, by slickly meaningless performance and by the attritional war waged on the national psyche via a 24-hour news presence.

    Seriously, on which planet isn’t this the case?

    Media spin has trumped decent policy in every election since the Kennedy-Nixon Debates, if not before.

    And I say this not as a rusted-on cynic (although I am), but as someone with 25 years of experience in modern political activism.

    • RabbitIslandHermit says:

      I’m not really disputing your broader point but that old Kennedy/Nixon wives’ tale was largely unsupported bullshit that Ted White found convenient to his narrative. link to slate.com

      • AngoraFish says:

        Which is neither here nor there since, as the article you cite notes as its concluding paragraph

        Whether or not that’s actually true, the perception of television’s influence went on to transform American politics, shaping the behavior of leaders and candidates for decades—leading politicians and candidates, among other things, to study issues, craft statements, memorize jokes, refine positions, and rehearse feverishly for the inescapable campaign ritual that the quadrennial presidential debates have become.

        • RabbitIslandHermit says:

          …which is why I said that I’m not really disputing your broader point. I just dislike political myths and particularly anything that buys into Nixon as misunderstood genius.

          • AngoraFish says:

            Fair enough.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Say what you want about Nixon, by actual credentials and intellect he was vastly more qualified than Kennedy. There is no way he loses an actual competition based on merit in that election.

          • pepperfez says:

            Does “merit” include “not being deeply, dangerously mentally ill”? Because then Nixon loses to most anyone.

          • RabbitIslandHermit says:

            What pepperfez said. Kennedy is overrated but wasn’t a thoroughly horrible president, which is more than you can say for Richard Nixon.

          • RabbitIslandHermit says:

            Like, I don’t think people realize that Watergate and related shenanigans wasn’t even the worst thing he did. He sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks before he President, for god sakes. The man was cartoonishly evil and basically everything good that happened during his presidency was the product of overwhelming, veto-proof Democratic and liberal Republican majorities in Congress.

  10. RealityJones says:

    Wasn’t surprised at the blatantly liberal slant of this particular writer but still annoying, nonetheless.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Because political opinions are only acceptable if they agree with me. Everyone else with any access to the media at all must at all times remain completely impartial to the point of utter blandness.

      • MrUnimport says:

        In fairness I’d probably

      • MrUnimport says:

        Wow oops I meant to cancel that reply, not send it! Guess there’s no backing out now!

        I can sympathize: there’s a lot of rather pointed language in this one and just because it’s directed at people I personally dislike and disagree with doesn’t mean I can’t see why some would feel insulted. People have every right to respond in kind when someone trots out such spectacularly dismissive phrasing. I would console Mr. RealityJones, however, that Mr. Davies seems to be trying to entertain rather than persuade in this case, and that in the spirit of good fun perhaps we should let it slide?

        • RabbitIslandHermit says:

          Obviously don’t speak for OP, but anyone who supports a man who tweets neo-nazi propaganda and encourages his followers to rough up protestors deserves to be insulted.

          • RealityJones says:

            Yes, because anyone can find examples of hooting dipshittery amongst BOTH political party’s candidates.

          • RabbitIslandHermit says:

            Yeah, like that time the Democratic frontrunner literally tweeted neo-nazi propaganda. I remember that.

      • Mr_Blastman says:

        Nah, it is just becoming commonplace for us to accept the media is full of nothing but libtards.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Is it really a liberal slant? Certainly anti-Trump, but that’s very different from being liberal or even anti-conservative.

      • iainl says:

        Indeed, there’s a bit of a difference between anti-conservative and anti-Nazi.

        • pepperfez says:

          In the US at this moment, there’s not as much difference as might be hoped.

    • mike2R says:

      Is March Davies American? Assuming not, then this isn’t really a controversial opinion. I lean somewhat right politically, and I’m still rubbing my eyes in amazement that Trump has got anywhere near being the most powerful man in the world. The attitudes on display here really are what almost everyone outside the States is thinking, regardless of their own politics.

    • rabbit says:

      you do realise that the entire purpose of this website’s foundation was to introduce / push heavy subjectivity alongside game writing, right?
      ok just checking bye then

  11. WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

    Sorry, could you please amp the virtue signalling up a little more? There are a few rocks on Pluto that didn’t quite detect it.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    What, no Bernie Sanders? :p

    • Foosnark says:

      First thing I noticed. This game must have been sponsored by CNN :P

    • jgf1123 says:

      The list of candidates is ordered by first name and has a slider, so (hopefully) the Bern is just above King Donald I here.

    • Mr_Blastman says:

      Good. He needs to go away along with the rest of the liberal party.

  13. Manburger says:

    This was a real juicy combo; both the alt-text and the article itself were supremely entertaining. Excellent writing, made me cry aloud with mirth and merriment! Davies, you are a treasure. :D

  14. Eightball says:

    Man, what are you guys gonna do when he gets elected?

    • Foosnark says:

      Alcoholism en masse, and/or escape in a hot air balloon over the Great Wall of Canada.

    • RabbitIslandHermit says:

      I mean, if any Republican gets elected I’ll lose my health insurance, so… die quickly?

      • RealityJones says:

        Yes, the 8 years I was without health insurance, I died quickly. People suffer more from the idiocy of forced health insurance.

        • RabbitIslandHermit says:

          Insurance: how does it work?

        • RabbitIslandHermit says:

          For the record I’m not you during those 8 years and actually do have health concerns that could be life-threatening without treatment, so respectfully, fuck you.

        • Kitsunin says:

          If everyone needed insurance, it wouldn’t work.

          • Josh W says:

            Well, if everyone needed insurance at the same time. That’s the trick of mutual insurance, the chance that all of you will have your house burn down at the same time is small – well, so long as you live far enough away from each other – so you can build a cash pot to cover the eventuality, and, if no-one’s house actually burns, split the interest between you.

  15. rabbit says:

    the final caption cracked me up. love what ya do mr davies!

  16. Joshua Northey says:

    Why haven’t they improved this game since 2004, or was it 2008? In any case the 2012 verison was deeply disappointing, and this looks more of the same. To make matters worse the art style is frankly offensive it is so annoying.

  17. jgf1123 says:

    So what election game should I get instead of this dross?

    • pepperfez says:

      My favorite election-related game this time round has been “bottle of bourbon,” wherein players drink from a bottle of bourbon whenever they think about the election.

    • AngoraFish says:

      This was recommended in the commonts of a previous article
      270soft.com/us-election-games/president-election-game-2016/

      Haven’t yet had a chance to try it myself.

  18. heretic says:

    Ahah this has got to be one of the best of Marsh’s articles! Brilliant alt text too :D

  19. Be_reasonable says:

    What people have to understand about the American ”democracy” is that it continues to be directly affected by the Civil War, which is a deep and complex topic that even Americans have trouble with. You’ll notice that the blue and red colors approximate North and South, and that’s no accident. You can see the voting record here:
    link to 270towin.com

    So what this game does isn’t that far off the mark, even if it is a parody. Some people are going to take offense to it because their candidate is being lampooned but with a shred of the truth. The conservative and liberal wings- right and left as it were- represent a spectrum of ideas. Some of the best and worst that humanity has to offer is on this spectrum. Because it’s a spectrum and not an equation, there is no equating the two parties. It’s lazy to say that they are opposite, and that they are equally to blame or otherwise conflate meaningless aphorisms about political parties and politics in general. It’s just not true. You have to ask yourself questions about how you feel about global warming, gay rights, civil rights in general, religion in politics, immigration, foreign-policy, environmental issues, economics, taxation, election processes, and how comfortable you are with a plutocracy. And that’s where I think the genius of this game shines (and Democracy 3): you are confronted with those questions and hopefully explore your own feelings on the topics.

    Unfortunately for most Americans, this kind of introspection and deep thought on these issues is heightened during the presidential election cycle and not necessarily during the congressional elections, leading to political stalemate. Democracy needs to be practiced and exercised like a muscle, not a television event.

  20. OMGmyFACE says:

    But Elizabeth Warren isn’t running… As a registered Democrat (who also registered as a Libertarian to mess with people in Portland and immediately switched back after a failed run for a local government office), the thought of a Hilary presidency is almost as bad as a Trump one so I’ve been under the Rubio or Bush banner. But if Elizabeth Warren was running, I’d be campaigning for her 24/7, war room style. Still considering just writing her name on the ballot anyway.

    • parkourhobo says:

      Why not Bernie Sanders? He has basically the same platform as Warren, and he has a chance at beating Hillary.

      • OMGmyFACE says:

        Honestly, I like him and his platform a lot but she seems to be thinking about evening out our military spending and wants to tackle the debt industry. Mostly, she’s a woman and if she runs, it’ll take away the only thing Hilary’s got going for her – a woman running for president. That alone is what will get her more support than Sanders who is infinitely better than she is. If Warren ran, I can think of no reason why a democrat wouldn’t support her and without her running, it’s up to an “old socialist” (hooray for the media) to beat a Clinton. It’ll be like voting for Kucinich with his 1% turnout.