Election Time

Published on Thursday, January 10, 2008 in , , , , , , ,

Vote Smart buttonIf you've seen anything of the news from the US, you can't miss that an election year has started. With so many people talking about it, the US elections can be a great theme for demonstrations.

The simplest approach to adopting this as a theme is to adapt routines you already do. If you do demonstrations with playing cards, imagine the possibilities with 2008 election-themed cards, in Republican, Democrat and Independent versions!

Another approach is to work up a demonstration that has a natural tie-in to the election. Memorizing all the US Presidents is a natural approach, which many have done with the help of the Animaniacs (made in 1995, so it stops at Bill Clinton):

If you've practiced the Peg/Major System, you can go above and beyond just being able to name them in order. Imagine being able to name the years in which each president took office! Of course, learning the US states and capitals can be tied in easily , as well. Once you get them down, you can make sure they stay in your mind by quizzing yourself regularly.

Math principles can also make for some fun and amazing election demonstrations. What's known in magic as the Miraskill Principle is a powerful mathematical concept. If you use the variation from the Point Spread routine in Simon Aronson's book Simply Simon, it's easier to see how it can be adapted to an election theme. As a matter of fact, Paul Flory and Gary Ouellet have done just that in their Election Night routine. The mathematical principle behind these two routines is front and center in the routine, but it so counterintuitive that the result is baffling.

Another counterintuitive mathematical principle that's been adapted to an election presentation is that of nontransitivity. While it's most commonly associated with dice, Rock/Paper/Scissors, and Penny's Game, it can also be adapted for use with an election theme. Robert Neale published his routine, Election Game, in the February 1973 issue of Pallbearers Review. It can be done as a psychic routine, but I've adapted it for use as an apparent memory and logic demonstration, too.

Despite the dreariness that's usually associated with elections, I hope I've given you the idea that there is also fun to be had with them.

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