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Empiricism seeks the best candidate for your buck

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OCTOBER 04, 2011

When our country gears up for election season, it is fraught with cultural currency — a time where there is a focused discussion on our American identity and what that actually means in a turning socio-economic time. We can banter or have small talk about the latest headlines and join into this shared space for conversation.

Individually people can stand for certain policies, exercise their choice and vote without having to really justify and defend their reasons except to say it is in their best interest. The difficult part is figuring out the rationale to make personal decisions compelling and viable enough for the other citizens in these amber waves of grain.

Independent voters will have the biggest hand in persuading the outcome next November. With these potential candidates thus far, it is hard to speculate whose name will be on bumper stickers since the GOP candidate will determine how independent votes are divided.

Despite the woes of the precarious double-dip depression and the dramatic stock market, the economy gives the country something to talk about.

The economy also identifies itself as the star and main litmus test for elected representatives when people go to the voting booths.

Many people make political decisions based solely on economic interests, but often times the infusion of social issues and personal obligations to what is “right” can cloud a decision which can be personal finance game theory.

Politify, a start-up political forecast company, exemplifies how political choices can be made without any outside intervention.

Nikita Bier, CEO and founder of Politify, developed his consulting firm through self-reflection. Last election he asked himself, “What metric am I using to measure how well each candidate or policy will serve my interests?”

Emotion is often caught up in political decisions, and Bier designated empiricism as a clear way to delineate a financial option.

Politify, Berkeley’s Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship Venture Lab’s semi-finalist, made a product to answer the question everyone tries to solve for themselves — how will a candidate or new policy affect me, my income and in the larger context, my position in a country where the government uses my tax dollars?

Factors like age, gender, race, annual income and other demographical entities should be the driving force behind your political choices when you vote with your financial interests in mind.

Americans get swept up in the romantic guise of campaign season deterring them from looking at each candidate with the skepticism of “What can you do for me or people in my position.”

Ideally, we want the candidate to be working for the greater good. Often that “greater good” is the category we belong to and prioritize.

I respect mechanisms like Politify and appreciate their say in the political landscape. The algorithm which Politify uses is a guiding force, or a measure with which people can further understand how the permutation of our “individualism” actually illustrates how demography and politics work hand-in-hand.

Political consulting reminds us that we belong to a systematized democracy where individual choices conflate into our current political position. Perhaps those decisions were the delayed effects of past administrations, but at the end of the day it’s what the country comes down on.

Nonetheless, campaign season will always be invested in mudslinging hoopla. During elections, passion is the third rail amid current political-economic climate and the demands of the masses.

Politify is currently developing a model for the American Jobs Act of 2011, which will illustrate the individual impacts of Obama’s “Buffet Tax” and the new spending proposals.

Image Source: theocean through Creative Commons


Contact Christine Deakers at 


OCTOBER 04, 2011