Pick The Biggest Political Story Of 2017

Dec 26, 2017
Originally published on December 26, 2017 2:39 pm

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

So much happened in 2017, it's hard to believe.

Ranking the top stories of the year is nearly impossible, especially with so many consequential, eye-popping and fast-moving things that happened.

So we need your help in deciding which was the most important. To make it easy — and hopefully fun — we created an NCAA-style March Madness bracket for politics. You can vote here now in a contest that pits story against story in what was an almost unbelievable year in American politics. (The deadline to fill out a bracket has passed, but you can still get in on the voting.)

You will get to decide the winner through Twitter polls, beginning with Round One, which is going on here for the until midnight or so. The winner will be announced Friday afternoon, and we will update with results of each round each morning.

(The prize for top-scoring bracket, announced on the Up First podcast — host David Greene's voice on your answering machine, er, voice mail. Or something else if that doesn't work out!)

Here's a quick preview of the bracket to get you started:

Top seeds: "The Chalk"

Here are the top seeds, known as "The Chalk" in college-basketball parlance. ("Chalk" is a relic of horse-betting that has survived. Read why here.):

Sexual harassment fallout: This massive story has seen ramifications in every industry and is continuing. It has caused the downfall of a prominent U.S. senator, congressmen and weighed heavily in a defeat of a Republican for Senate in Alabama, leading to the state electing its first Democrat in a quarter century. Because of all that, it is our top overall seed.

Comey fired: The former FBI director being fired was a massive story. It triggered a special counsel being appointed to investigate Russia's role in the 2016 election and any connections to the Trump campaign. Opponents and some allies of the president believe this was his biggest political blunder that could have consequences for his presidency in 2018 and beyond.

Mueller Russia probe: Following on Comey's firing, another former FBI director, the well-regarded and meticulous Robert Mueller was appointed. And his dragnet has been wide, looking at meetings with Russian officials to Trump's finances, something the president once said would be something of a red line. The probe has pulled in multiple, high-ranking Trump officials, including his former campaign chairman and national security adviser, who has apparently been flipped. That means watch for more shoes to drop in 2018.

Trump inaugurated: This is the tree almost everything in 2017 stemmed from. Citing "American carnage," he set out a dark and brooding message that would trigger a sharp about-face not just from the Obama presidency, but the norms of almost of how American democracy and government has run for hundreds of years.

Possible upsets

Let's be honest: the No. 1 vs. No. 16 games amount to substance vs. click bait.

Only one 16 seed has ever defeated a 1 seed in college basketball — that was Harvard defeating Stanford in the 1998 NCAA Women's Tournament.

Will another be added to the list? It's unlikely — though, some on Twitter are threatening to advance "Trump looks at eclipse" over "Trump inaugurated." But that just feels like trolling. It would very surprising if that happened.

From early brackets that have come in, many can't seem to let go of Anthony Scaramucci's 10 days in the White House. (It is ironically — and unintentionally — a 10 seed.) In nearly every bracket, people have "The Mooch's" tenure defeating the far more serious and consequential "NY truck attack."

Sleepers to watch

It's worth watching a couple strong middle seeds: No. 6-seeded "Donald Trump Jr.'s email revelations," but it has a tough second-round matchup against the sweeping thematic category of "Gun violence."

And lots of people are also picking 5-seed "Deportations/DACA" to upset "Trump inaugurated" in the Sweet 16.

Let us know what you think. Tell us if we're missing something on Twitter or the NPR Politics Facebook page.

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