Episode 80

(Looking for the scoreboard? It’s right here.)

This is a special audience-participation episode of Here’s the Tower. It’s a game that you and all listeners can play and it’s called Fantasy Cabinet.

If you’ve ever filled in a March Madness basketball bracket or bet on a horse race, you kind of know how to play the game already.

What would you say if I told you we are about to combine all the thrills of college basketball with the exciting world of executive branch politics?

This is Fantasy Cabinet

I’m inviting you and all my listeners to compete in this game to guess who will be in the Cabinet of the United States next year.

You may have heard something about this – there’s a Presidential election coming up in the United States on November 3, 2020. When such an election happens, it almost always means that the Cabinet members will change shortly thereafter.

The Cabinet consist of the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and 14 other people who are the heads of the federal executive departments. These are agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Education, and so on.

A new President typically picks new people to head all of these departments. When a President is re-elected, current Cabinet members often use the occasion to move on to other work, or the President uses the opportunity to bring in fresh faces.

So in this case, you’re competing to try and guess either who Joe Biden will nominate to Cabinet positions, or who will be in the Cabinet in Donald Trump’s second term.

Here’s how it works

The game is simple. Starting September 23, 2020, you can go to kcomposite.com/cabinet to fill in your bracket.

If you think Biden will win the election, you can fill in your bracket with the people you think he will nominate to be in his Cabinet. 

If you think Trump will win the election – or refuse to leave office, or seize power like Stalin, or somehow otherwise remain in office – you can fill in your bracket with the people you think he will keep or nominate to his second-term Cabinet. 

Or you can play it both ways, choose a Biden pick for Secretary of Commerce and a Trump pick for Secretary of Energy, something like that.

You’re basically just trying to get most of them correct, so you can play any strategy you like. You can even play the strategy that someone else will become president.

Here’s how the scoring works

Cabinet members are nominated by the President and then either confirmed or rejected by the Senate. 

If the Senate confirms their nomination, they are sworn into office and they start working (or in Trump’s case, they begin enriching themselves, or they start collecting damaging information so they can make money writing books about it instead of standing up to the corruption). 

For each person you correctly pick, you’ll get one point when they are nominated by the President. 

You’ll get an additional 2 points if that person is confirmed by the Senate.

And you’ll get 4 more points when they are sworn into office.

So for each person you pick, you have the possibility of earning 7 points. 

As a bonus, you’ll also get one point for each person you pick who is nominated for a different office in the Cabinet. (For example, if you pick Frank Davidson as Secretary of Labor, but he is actually nominated as Secretary of Commerce, you’ll get one point for that, but not for any of the subsequent milestones.)

Final score after the President’s first 100 days

Fantasy Cabinet is a long, long game that will last into spring 2021. You need to submit your bracket before the election, but the final results won’t be tabulated until the end of the President’s first 100 days in office.

We expect that to be April 29, 2021, but anything can happen lately, so if Inauguration Day does not occur on January 20, 2021, the first 100 days will end later.

And because anything can happen this year, as another bonus, the position of Vice President is worth double points.

That is, we presume Mike Pence or Kamala Harris will be the Vice President next year, so most players will pick them for their brackets. However, if you think someone else will be Vice President 100 days after inauguration – because of some scandal or illness or whatever – if you think someone else will be Vice President 100 days after inauguration and you’re correct, you will collect those extra points that maybe no one else will.

However, if you are wrong and everyone else played it safe, you’ll miss out on those points.

It’s incredibly unlikely that someone will correctly guess all 16 Cabinet positions, so the winner will be the player with the highest score.

Are you ready to play Fantasy Cabinet?

Fill in your bracket at kcomposite.com/cabinet before Election Day. That means all entries must be received by 11:59 PM Eastern Time, Monday, November 2, 2020.

What can you win? 

Not only will you have street cred in Tower Nation, but I will announce your name and the results on the show. The top point earner will also receive a very special Here’s the Tower coffee mug. Holy shit.

After Election Day, as the Cabinet nomination process moves forward (hopefully), I’ll update the scoreboard at the same address where you fill in your bracket so you can see how you’re doing.

Fill in your bracket today at kcomposite.com/cabinet and share this episode with your political junkie friends and family and get them to play.

Point values

Cumulative points
1 point: Nominated by the President
2 points: Confirmed by the Senate
4 points: Sworn into office
7 points total possible per office

Bonus points
Double cumulative points: Correct pick for Vice President
1 bonus point: Your pick nominated for a different office

Associate producer: Betsy McClimans

Photo: Betty Ford dances on the Cabinet Room table during her last full day as First Lady, January 19, 1977. (Gerald Ford Presidential Library, National Archives)

Music in this episode:
“News Theme 2” by Audionautix
“Newsreel” by Max Surla/Media Right Productions
“Go Go Gadget Rockstar” by The Whole Other
“Castlevania” by Density & Time
“Grut” by Patrick Patrikios
Jam version of “Theme from Snuggling With the Enemy” by Scott Ritcher and Magic GarageBand

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