Election: the board game

Prospect Magazine

Election: the board game

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How to win the US presidency

Play “Oval Office Contender”—the ultimate party game! Here are the easy-to-follow rules and regulations (for complete instructions, please consult the 229-page Federal Election Campaign Laws guide):

Objective: Reach the Oval Office before anyone else.

Players: For two or more political players, ages 35 and up (natural-born Americans only), with minimum net worth of several million dollars.

Contents: Oval game board, die, game pieces: soldier’s helmet (“War Hero”); thick government budget (“Experienced Wonk”); Hollywood star (“Charismatic Actor”); American football (“Sports Icon”); helmeted hair (“Handsome Guy”); rising sun (“Audacious Optimist”); sensible trouser suit (“Female Candidate”); silver spoon (“Self-Made Titan of Industry”). Two decks of cards: green “War Che$t” and red “Political Wildcard”

Stages of the game and sample spaces:

Declaring Your Candidacy
Pundit finds years-old newspaper column you wrote that contradicts your current positions. Media immediately casts you as a flip-flopper; go back two spaces, then forward two, then back two, then forward two

Infelicitous speech insulting half the country at private dinner captured on video and posted on internet; lose a turn apologising for your mistake and return last two War Che$t cards

Spousal Support
Your wife loses Family Circle’s Presidential Cookie Bake-Off and is criticised for her dress; go back in time to 1953

Evidence of youthful drink driving discovered; go back to fundraising but gain vote of college students who formerly considered you boring

Religious Convictions
Democrats: Make token gesture toward God in one speech, lose Authenticity Points from both liberals and conservatives
Republicans: Dispute evolution; set Europe’s view of Americans back 150 years

Picking a Vice President
Roll the die—
Republicans: If even number, pick former minister; odd number, septuagenarian in public office since Nixon administration; if die falls off board, relatively unknown politician of questionable intellect
Democrats: If even number, pick southern white male; odd number, someone with white hair for gravitas; if die falls off board, Joe Biden

If no one has a majority of the delegates, roll to see who claims the superdelegates; if players roll the same number, then fight on the convention floor and return to start

You’ve been Swift-Boated by a shadowy group accusing you of having sort of caused 9/11! Go back to debates and criticise your rival for the proxy attack, then both of you go back two spaces and donate War Che$t cards to TV networks

Twitter Gaffe
One of your staff tweets an ethnic slur on your official Twitter account; lose three million Twitter followers overall, gain 500,000 from Texas

Roll the die—
If even number, advance one space because of charming quip and good hair day; odd, go back one space because of clumsily worded attack on rival and clashing outfit

Win endorsement from George W Bush; lose game

November surprise: will it be haemorrhaging of jobs in the automobile industry, an unearthed sex scandal with a campaign worker, or a third-party independent who makes a big splash in a swing state? Find out by drawing a Political Wildcard!

Supreme Court given power to decide presidency; roll the die—
If even number, advance to Oval Office; odd number, return to private sector as highly paid board member and consultant who wields more power than the president

Estimated playing time: Two years. Expect several players, and numerous onlookers, to drop out due to exhaustion.

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Teddy Wayne

Teddy Wayne
Teddy Wayne is the author of “Kapitoil” and the forthcoming "The Love Song of Jonny Valentine" 

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