The DNC. / Richard Anderson

Bafflersplainer: Win the Future

Hacking the Democratic Party

The DNC. / Richard Anderson
w
o
r
d

f
a
c
t
o
r
y

The brains behind Farmville (the best video game) and LinkedIn (the best social network) have teamed up to save the Democrats by establishing an online “virtual party” (the best kind of party).

Here’s what you need to know:

THERE ARE NO DOWNSIDES TO THIS GREAT IDEA

Mark Pincus is the co-founder of Zynga, your grandmother’s favorite video game publisher. Reid Hoffman is co-founder of LinkedIn, a networking website that’s harder to escape than a Scientology outpost buried underneath a gulag. These tech visionaries decided they’d had enough of business as usual in politics, put their brains together, and created an exciting new group called Win The Future. Its mission is to influence the Democratic party platform and assist the #Resistance. If you’re skeptical of this project, keep these facts in mind: People in tech are smarter than you are; disruption makes everything better; everybody loves winning; the internet is the future; and the group is called Win the Future. Enough said.

WIN THE FUTURE CAN BE SHORTENED TO WTF

Apparently this is deliberate, which portends the twelve-dimensional chess game being played.

DON’T CONFUSE “WIN THE FUTURE” WITH “WINNING THE FUTURE”

Winning the Future is a book by Newt Gingrich that was published in 2005. The future won.

WIN THE FUTURE WAS BORN OUT OF MARK PINCUS’S FRUSTRATION AT BEING EXCLUDED FROM POLITICAL POWER

Pincus realized the American political system was broken after he twice “typed in five paragraphs of feedback” to the Democratic National Committee’s website and never received a reply. (It’s unclear whether Reid Hoffman ever asked the DNC to join his professional network on LinkedIn.)

MARK PINCUS PROBABLY TOOK LESSONS IN THE RHETORIC OF GRIEVANCE AND ALIENATION FROM A ONE-LEGGED WEST VIRGINIA COAL MINER

Describing politics as a “competitive insider’s world,” Pincus has observed, “Whether it’s me or my family and friends . . . we just feel—we’ve always felt—left out. It just feels like the bar is so high for any of us to have a voice and choice.”

Our democracy will achieve its final, perfect form when all legislation is drafted by a solar-powered calculator wearing a mock turtleneck.

MARK PINCUS IS WORTH 1.36 BILLION DOLLARS

If you’re thinking, “Hold on: This guy is a literal billionaire, and he’s complaining that he hasn’t been able to influence politicians? He might be the dumbest billionaire in human history,” you should re-examine your assumptions. To wit: Reid Hoffman is actually worth more than twice as much ($3.2 billion).

WIN THE FUTURE HAS THE BEST SOLUTION FOR CITIZENS BEING EXCLUDED FROM THE POLITICAL PROCESS

Rather than spending their money supporting progressive local and state groups that could do the grinding organizational work of registering new voters, challenging racist voter ID laws, and pushing back against gerrymandering, Win the Future’s founders will do a bunch of high-profile stuff online. This will increase civic participation where it counts most: on the internet. Remember, Pincus’s shattering experience of exclusion came after the DNC refused to respond to the five paragraphs of suggestions he submitted to its website. As we all know, it’s the comment box, not the ballot box, where democracy lives or dies.

ACCORDING TO PINCUS, WTF WILL BE “PRO-ECONOMY”

If true, this unorthodox stance could truly revolutionize politics as we know it.

WTF WILL ALSO BE SOMETHING CALLED “PRO-SOCIAL”

Whether this means everyone who visits WTF’s website will be automatically enrolled in LinkedIn for a minimum of 1,000 years, only time will tell. 

PINCUS HAS AN UNCANNY SENSE OF POLITICAL MOMENTUM AND AGENCY

“I’m fearful the Democratic Party is already moving too far to the left,” Pincus has said. No doubt millions of young people agree, as they eagerly anticipate decades of crushing student-loan, housing, and medical debt. According to Pincus, the goal of WTF is to “push the Democratic Party to be more in touch with mainstream America, and on some issues, that’s more left, and on some issues it might be more right.” It’s unclear exactly what direction the WTF movement will take, since that will be determined by its most ardent supporters—unlike any other political movement in human history, which is why this is so exciting.

PREDICTION: THOMAS FRIEDMAN HAS ALREADY RUINED ELEVEN PAIRS OF PANTS SINCE LEARNING ABOUT WIN THE FUTURE

WTF is the latest iteration of the centrist pundit’s fantasy: a tech-based, data-driven fix to the messy human impulses that drive any democratic system. Our democracy will achieve its final, perfect form when all legislation is drafted by a solar-powered calculator wearing a mock turtleneck.

WIN THE FUTURE’S PLAN TO SOLICIT POLICY PRIORITIES ONLINE CANNOT FAIL

WTF participants will be able to submit their own suggestions for platform planks. If those suggestions win broad support—measured “primarily through likes and retweets on Twitter”—they will be folded into “WTF’s political DNA.” This model of truly open democracy will thrive online, where only the brightest ideas win favor.

WIN THE FUTURE’S FIRST POLITICAL TRIUMPH WILL STUN THE NAYSAYERS AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS

When President Katy Perry passes the 9/11 Memorial Boaty McBoatface Mandatory Fart Contest Plus Free Beer And $500 Game Stop Coupons To All Virgins Act of 2022, we will truly know that the “WTF Era” has arrived, and the money and energy put into this movement could not have been better spent.

David Rees is the author of Get Your War On and How to Sharpen Pencils. He co-hosts the Election Profit Makers podcast. 

You Might Also Enjoy

The Killer App

Keith White

The Gateway to the Consumer Earlier this year, some sixty slathering publishing would-bes jammed the upstairs of a brew pub. . .

salvos

Baffler Newsletter

new email subscribers receive a digital copy of our current issue.

Further Reading