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Civology is an ongoing essay series1 where I attempt to dissect what’s really going on in American electoral politics.

My interest, or rather obsession, with elections began in 2016 after Trump's ascent to the White House.2 Some friends and I launched a PAC in Florida to retaliate. Along the way, I came to appreciate the importance and complexity of elections—and realized more effective ways to create an impact beyond just raising extra dollars. My excitement for elections continued in the form of several college classes, academic research, working as a data scientist at 270 Strategies, and serving as a pollster for multiple campaigns in 2019 and 2020.

One of the surprising things about elections is just how much people disagree about the basics. Does the candidate with the most money win or is it the other way around? Are voters becoming more polarized or is it just our politicians? And what's the deal with door knocking and phone banking—do they even work?

I started Civology as a way to answer these questions. One of my goals is to reconcile all the different viewpoints without falling victim to the limitations of any single perspective. I hope to combine the rigor of academic literature with the intuition espoused by journalists. Additionally, I want to cover the common blind spots, such as local elections and their overlooked dynamics.

I don't promise any easy answers. But there will be plenty of nuance and at least a framework to start thinking about things—both to understand today and help shape tomorrow.

Series launching soon.

  1. All Civology essays are cross-posted to my blog but organized here for convenience.
  2. In reality, the seeds were probably planted after I ran a few campaigns in a model government program as a high schooler. These experiences showed me that elections were a giant optimization and resource allocation problem—my favorite.
© 2020 by Wes De Silvestro. All rights reserved.