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Visualize congressional relationships

Dealmaker is an iOS app for visualizing the relationships between Congresspersons. There are three visualizations: geographic, wheel, and partisanship. Together, these visualizations lend insights into how much each Congressperson agrees with whom, which in turn reveals who is most partisan, or who is willing to reach across the aisle.

In other words: who is the dealmaker.  

Dealmaker is a submission to the Congressional Data Challenge, a challenge by the Library of Congress to visualize congressional data. You can read more about the challenge here

This app won the Best High School Project award.


Geographic visualization

The first visualization focuses on how different regions of the country agree with each other in Congress. Stronger, darker lines indicate higher levels of agreement between the linked states. 

The screenshot above is an example of what such a map would look like for the Senate. As shown in the map, the darkest lines are concentrated in the Northeast and connect the Northeast with the West Coast. These lines therefore indicate that these Democratic regions agree with each other strongly, which is rather unsurprising. 

However, what is unexpected is that Democrats agree with Democrats more strongly than Republicans do with Republicans, suggesting that Democrats are somewhat more partisan. 


Wheel visualization

This second visualization is more granular than the first, focusing on the individual Congresspersons instead of the regions they represent. This individual-focused visualization appropriately reveals insights about the individual senators' relationships with each other.

In this visualization, all the senators are in one big circle. When one is tapped, he or she moves to the center of the circle, and lines appear, connecting the selected Congressperson to each one on the circumference. The lines are colored by the party of the Congressperson on the circumference. The darker and thicker the line, the stronger the level of agreement between the Congresspersons linked.

In the above image, the darkest, thickest lines are blue, suggesting that the selected Senator (Elizabeth Warren), agrees by far most often with Democrats, which is unsurprising. Additionally, if we were to filter by international-related legislation (like immigration and foreign policy), we would notice that Marco Rubio would have a thick line connecting him to Democrats. These lines therefore mean that Marco Rubio agrees with Democrats more than Republicans on international-related legislation, which makes sense considering his background as the son of Cuban immigrants.


Partisanship visualization

This visualization focuses on showing how partisan Congresspersons really are. Each Congressperson has a bar beside him or her that has three segments: blue, red, and gray, which represent Democratic, Republican, and Independent, respectively. The relative length of each segment indicates how much that Congressperson agrees with members of that party. That is, a longer blue than red line means that Congressperson agrees more with Democrats than Republicans. 

From the image above, it is surprisingly yet comfortingly revealed that both Democrats and Republicans agree with the opposing party about as much as they do with their own, meaning that they are not that partisan overall as they may seem.