Port: What if what wins elections isn’t what’s good for the country?


Minot, N.D. — I’m a sucker for a good baseball metaphor, so when Derek Thompson wrote in the Atlantic about what the “moneyball” approach to America’s pastime has done to the game’s appeal as entertainment, and what that might mean for other areas of our lives, it caught my attention.

Moneyball, for those of you who aren’t baseball nerds, is an analytics-driven approach to the game which, undeniably, gets results, but also makes the games longer and more boring to watch. It wins games, sure, but it also hasn’t been good for baseball as a product.

The same can be said of our politics, and the new style of snotty, snarky, social-media-driven campaigning which now permeates it.

Thompson argues that there are two types of games in life: the finite and the infinite. “A finite game is played to win; there are clear victors and losers,” he argues. “An infinite game is played to keep playing; the goal is to maximize winning across all participants.”

The democratic process through which we choose our leaders ought to be the latter. A game played to choose the best leader who will do the most good for the most people.

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