Some news about the blog today. The title “Across All Sports” is a thing of the past. I’m a bit sad to change it, as “Across All Sports” was a great representation of my work for many years. But those years are long gone as I rarely write about sports. The “Across All Sports” title just confused potential readers about the content of the blog.
So today, I’m retiring the title and introducing a new one: Political Algebra. It may not make sense at first, but let me explain a little bit. I was a math nerd in school and algebra was possibly my favorite subject. I loved solving for multiple variables using multiple equations. I found a beauty in taking complex equations and deriving answers from them.
In politics and policy, I see many similarities to algebra. The political world involves a number of complicated moving parts. Every Congressman, lobbyist and adviser has his or her own strategy and goals. Each one is a complicated equation with many variables. I can examine different bills – such as the immigration bill – and analyze which House members will vote for it, what could potentially switch their votes, and what that means for the odds of the bill’s passage. It’s certainly not an exact science – I can’t just line up two equations like in my algebra class – but it’s more than just guesswork.
As for the policy world, algebra matches up even better. When I look at different proposed policies, I evaluate them in two ways. First, in an ideal world, what’s the best solution to the given problem? Second, given the political constraints, is this solution feasible and if not, what is the best solution within those constraints? The two answers are rarely the same. But in both situations, I take complex topics and look at the theoretical models, academic research and empirical evidence on them. In this way, both policy analysis and algebra are academic exercises with concrete solutions. Algebra is just numbers and variables. There are no outside influences or biases involved – and that’s the standard I hold myself to in this blog as well.
Unfortunately, not every equation has a simple solution. You can’t always solve for every variable. The same is true in the political and policy worlds. I try to narrow down competing ideas and political analyses to simple, unbiased facts. Sometimes, those answers will be neat and clear-cut. Other times, they’ll be complicated and messy.
So, that’s the story of the new blog title. I hope it gives a better understanding to how I approach each issue and the goals of my blog posts. I’m also adding in a background to the site that will be up shortly – please let me know what you think of it, especially if it’s inhibiting your reading in anyways.
Lastly, I’m officially a DC resident full-time and am looking forward to delivering some first-hand reporting here. I’m very excited to get going so check back often to Political Algebra!