Mihran Kalaydjian | World Cup Juxtaposed with Politics

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

As the FIFA World Cup matchups are underway and each new day seems to bring a new upset, one can’t help but to see the comparison with the game of politics in this election cycle. Seats once thought to be secure ended up being hard-fought and even a few with surprise upsets of their own. Some of the most fierce and heated contests saw voters calling for substitutions, while overall most of the same players stayed on the field for the next round of play. As play progresses beyond the midterm election, the real question is what will this mean for the next round of games, and will the voters ultimately end up victorious from these substitutions and upset matches? 

One thing that should be noted by new players elected to come onto the field (especially in districts where decisions for change were close, such as Assembly Districts 7, 40, 47 and 71 and Senate District 16) is to be mindful that the voters making the substitution decisions didn’t make any wide-sweeping or tremendous team alterations. These players would be wise to recognize that being called onto the field doesn’t mean they have been empowered to rewrite playbooks for what voters have wanted and from which the game has been played. Rather, they were brought in to secure a win for the team. To do so means proving themselves to those who brought them onto the team, but also doing so by working and playing well within the existing team structure.

Politics is a team sport and to accomplish anything legislatively requires a majority. In California, we know this means it is the Democrat majority in Sacramento who will decisively control legislation. With such control should also come such responsibility and some of the new class of legislators should be mindful of the need to bring home wins for their district, because particularly the newly elected Democrat legislators will be without excuse should they fail to do so. Then, at some point, voters may even eventually call for more sweeping substitutions if a win can never be brought home.

Of course, even when in the majority, scoring success still can require more extensive skills, and it is those skills that can often prompt voters to make trades. In fact, the choice of legislators by voters can often more likely mirror the strategy from “Moneyball” than “Grand Slam RBIs,” and each legislative accomplishment is a solid opportunity to get on base and collectively, with multiple such accomplishments, to run up the score. 

These base hits mean enacting, furthering, signing onto and/or spurring bills with substantive effect for those who control player trading. This will be even more necessary in Assembly District 40, where one such trade occurred. The substitution proceeded with less than 500 votes making the difference. Now, the new assemblywoman will have two years to show voters what kind of player they received.

Already, the post-trade banter is focused less on what will be accomplished and more about PR hype regarding the trade that flipped a seat. While some players do try to make their name about branding, advertisements and big-name endorsements, others recognize they first need to have a solid on-field reputation from which to build. In other words, are the skills there to deliver? While voters have opted for substitution, the fundamental needs of the game have not changed, and the question remains the same: Can the new player on the team deliver the wins for those who made the substitution? We’ll find out in 2024.

Mihran Kalaydjian

Santa Clarita

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