The Road To The White House
The United States Presidential Election happens every four years. This means that the average American will be able to participate in 15 U.S. Presidential Elections. Despite the copious opportunities presented to the American public many will go through life not understanding the complex and yet methodical process which is the U.S. Presidential Election.
As a young United States citizen I have come to find a deep respect for the democracy which governs the United States. This democracy only works so long as we believe it does. The moment we lose interest, or lose insight into how the democracy works is the day that it crumbles under us. It is with this determination that I took on this project.
I have a desire to engage my peers in the political process regardless of their political affiliation. It is vital that, no mater what party or sect of the political system one identifies with, that they engage in the process. I hope that this project will allow people to engage with the upcoming presidential election in a bit more of a lighthearted way, allowing them to compete with their friends and family in a game.
Even before a person can vote this program can allow for young Americans to engage in the political process, learn about how the process works and then by the time they are old enough to vote they will be ready. COVID-19 has directly effected the educational system in numerous ways, and now, more than ever teachers need to be able to engage with their students digitally, this program will also allow for young students to learn, interact with and engage in U.S. Politics from the comfort and safety of their own home.
What it does
The Road To The White House application is simple in that it allows a user to predict what would happen should a presidential candidate take specific states. The user can go through each state and make predictions on which candidate might take each state. This will tally up their score at the bottom, and display the electoral college votes.
At the bottom of the screen is a visual race between two cars, to the 270 mark. This mark determines who the winner of the presidential election is. A fun visual representation which can be used to see how far a candidate needs to get in order to win.
When each State is selected from the center drop down the screen will display that candidate's chances of winning that state as predicted by the website https://fivethirtyeight.com/. This will allow users to predict based off of current polls and professional projections.
A vital feature to the software is the save and open functions. This will allow a user to create a board, with all of their predictions separated out between the candidates. They then can save this prediction and open it later when they are with their friends to compare their results. This friendly competition can lead to friends engaging in political discussion about the process used to choose the executive office of the United States.
How I built it
I used C# and Visual Studio.
Challenges I ran into
The state pictures were difficult to find, and even after I found them it made it hard to scale them. It was difficult to determine if I should move forward with these images or where to go if I did.
This lead me to having to resize the pictures inside of the program itself, the pictures turned out fine enough but more work could be done to making each picture look cleaner.
I also wanted to make the states turn specific colors when they were dragged into their respective column, but given the time constraints I was unable to include this update.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The ability to move one picture around the screen is difficult, but to move multiple almost seemed impossible. After taking time to research what PictureBoxes do I was able to find some articles on how some people were able to make an individual box move around. I adapted my code to do something similar to allow all the PictureBoxes to move around.
What I learned
I learned the importance of a plan. Before I started coding the project I sat down with a pen and paper and began drawing out a UML diagram in order to understand the project. This UML diagram became very handy in coding every aspect of the project because I didn't feel lost in any part, I knew the overall structure and I was able to build off of that solid foundation.
What's next for Road To The White House
I want to make this into a mobile application. Over the past summer I worked in Xamarin in order to make an app and I am hoping to turn this around into an app too. This general desktop application is more of a proof of concept because I believe the true way to get people to engage with politics is to get it in their phones.
And the obvious thing moving forwarded with this project is updating the GUI. Making it look cleaner.