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Much of the attention Political Arena has received has centered on its mechanics — You’ll pass bills! You’ll master campaign strategy! You’ll have your career torpedoed by a misguided graduate school paper on colonialism! That’s all fine and good, but mechanics are nothing if your game doesn’t strike the right tone, mood and … well … vibe. After all, we can tell you that your bill is being held up by an aging lawmaker who thinks fiberoptics is a dietary supplement that promotes regularity and wards off cataracts — but how do we make you feel it? Making sure Political Arena’s graphics, sound, music, events and backstories are just so is central to its immersiveness. Below are some of the backstories we’ve been generating (along with our work-in-progress character creator) to hone Political Arena’s vibe and build out its universe.

Forgotten Vice President

No one is quite sure if Bob is talking to a BRIC foreign minister, touring a factory while looking stupid in a hard hat, or attending the funeral of a former one-term senator and U.S. trade representative. Two different White House chiefs of staff have toyed with naming Bob the state of the union’s designated survivor. It is rumored that the speed at which Bob fell into irrelevance following inauguration day is being used as a unit of measurement by CERN to clock certain subatomic processes.  

Alarming Republican House Backbencher Overshadowed By Other, Even More Alarming Republican Backbenchers

Has introduced no fewer than five bills calling for the Commerce Department to be audited for evidence of ISIS infiltration. Regularly appears on a podcast best known for linking feminism to colony collapse disorder and being sponsored by a brand of caulk that “opposes PC culture.” Doesn’t bring her husband around much as he is too busy stockpiling oil drums of dehydrated soup in their basement in preparation for the pending grid collapse.

Think Tank Executive Director

Spent this week appearing on 23 panels and overseeing publication of a report on local solutions to the nation’s 21st century infrastructure challenges. Fourteen people will read this report … six if you don’t count her subordinates. A widely respected D.C. figure who has, nevertheless, run through 15 deputies in the last five years. 

Palatable-To-Big-Business Democratic House Member

Overcompensates for his HBS MBA and decade of consulting work helping healthcare companies reduce headcount by overusing the word, “folks.” Is very sorry to be running late to this town hall, but his flight from a Blackrock-sponsored panel on whether AI can replace school crossing guards was delayed. Did you know that data center construction is fueling job growth in his district? 

Middling Republican Lobbyist

Introduces clients to the same five former colleagues from the Ways and Means Committee. Proudly reports to stakeholders that earlier groundwork has contributed to passage of a crucial bill … one that was going to be put to a vote and passed, anyway. Facilitated three “Dear Colleague” letters this year. Banks half a million annually doing this. Has five lunch meetings a day in three different restaurants. 

Decreasingly Relevant Right-of-Center Washington Socialite

Once Washington’s leading facilitator of mimosa brunches attended by trickle down economics fanboys. This doyenne of Northwest D.C.’s respectable Republicans has seen her clout reduce in recent years as the GOP has traded its small government, hawkish foreign policy ethos for a policy platform focused mostly on disgruntled nihilism. Her best columnist friends are increasingly relegated to being prestige hires at fledgling online publications – a pity since it was in her living room where they brainstormed the idea for at least one American military misadventure abroad.

Politically Bulletproof DA Definitely About To Primary Your Ass

First in her family to attend college, AND has a ready-for-TV labradoodle named Constitution? Dammit. Can someone even edit the Harvard Law Review while deployed as an Army helicopter pilot? Oh, God, did anyone see that 30-second spot of her in hunting camo, dressing a deer and discussing the need to undo the Dobbs decision? Nuts, I had no idea that so many of the party’s finance committee members were in the same pickleball league … and how did she join it? Will someone PLEASE try to get our DCCC contact on the line? Why isn’t she responding?  

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