Fantasy Congress

by Eszter Hargittai on November 18, 2006

Does anyone around here play Fantasy Congress? I’d heard about it before, but now that I was invited to join a league, I started looking into it in more depth.

As in other fantasy sports, you – the Citizen – draft a team of real-life legislators from the U.S. Congress and score points for your team’s successes.

However, as one commentator aptly notes: “[I]t’s lifelike: you win by getting bills passed, not by passing good bills.”

If you only care about winning the game, sure, you can compile a team of senators and represenatives who have an active record. But do you really want to be sitting around hoping that some real-life bill that makes your stomach turn is successful just so you can score some points in FC?

I can see the appeal to some extent, but overall I am not convinced the system is refined enough at this point to get me sufficiently enthusiastic. And while my first reaction was that at least it has educational value by teaching people about the legislative process, now I’m thinking that since it is most likely to appeal to folks who already know much about politics, it’s not clear that it will really spread the word far and wide about how the system works.

That said, I don’t have much experience with fantasy sports so I may be missing some important factors. Moreover, I do think the idea is interesting and certainly impressive that some college students thought it up and managed to execute it. And to be fair, it sounds like its creators – four undergraduate students at Claremont McKenna – are working on refining the system.