Game Theory is a field of mathematics originally developed to try to mathematically derive optimum solutions for card games in the 18th century. It has developed into a major field of analysis used in computer science and even the design of crypto systems. Any of you who saw the film "A Beautiful Mind" have at least a passing familiarity with the subject.
You probably even know the most famous example of Game Theory: The Prisoner's Dilemma. Two prisoners are (separately) offered a deal - rat out the other guy or keep silent. If they rat and the other guy doesn't, they go free and he gets a long sentence. If neither of them rat, they both get short sentences. If they both rat, they both get long sentences. And most importantly to the prisoner, if he doesn't rat but the other guy does, he gets a long sentence while the other guy walks.
It's a one-time deal, which makes the math simpler. Real world situations are not so simple, and a variant of the Prisoner's Dilemma has incorporated this. Tit For Tat is a sequential set of prisoner's dilemma events where the strategy is to play what your opponent played in the previous round. If your opponent was cooperative, you will be cooperative; if he screwed you, you will screw him back.
What's interesting about Tit For Tat is that mathematical proofs have shown that it leads to the outcome with maximum combined utility. If your opponent always screws you, you're no worse off playing Tit For Tat, but if your opponent is always cooperative or also plays Tit For Tat then both of you derive the maximum benefit.
The political establishment (we're talking both parties here) has essentially been captured by big business and the wealthy, with the coastal educated being coopted by University research grant funding and public sector Senior Executive Service or Think Tank employment. The elite has been repeatedly screwing the middle class (who have no such access to University to government jobs). This has been going on for a couple of decades now.
The middle class has been playing nice, listening to red, white, and blue songs of "we're all in this together". The recent GOP presidential field has been a stunning display of this: Mittens Romney, Sad Sack McCain, GWB, Bob Dole, Bush 41. Each tools of (Dole, McCain) or members of (Romney, Bush pere et fils) the establishment.
And for two decades, the middle class has been squeezed for the benefit of the elite. EPA regulations have gutted American manufacturing, free trade has accelerated the movement of high paying jobs overseas, open borders have displaced millions of Americans from traditional good paying jobs (say, construction).
It's got to the point that the Middle Class has shrunk from 61% of the population to 51%. Neither party is doing anything about it. Neither party is even talking about it.
Enter Game Theory. "Play Nice" as a strategy simply isn't working. Trust in government has been declining for the same 40 years that the Middle Class has been shrinking, but the elites have gamed the system to ensure that no real change will get in the way of them fattening their portfolios at the Middle Class' expense. The urge to play Tit For Tat has been building, but has had no outlet. The field has been prepared, over the course of decades, for a candidate beyond the control of the elites.
Hello, Donald Trump. He was already a "name brand" to TV, and so the Media couldn't ignore him. He's a billionaire, and so the donors couldn't control him. He's a smart deal maker with a long history of persuading people to do things.
Right candidate, right time. Four decades of rapine has led to this point. The outcome was, you might say, inevitable.
And so the shrieking madness that we see from the elite and their hangers on in the Media, government, and Universities. The man was supposed to implode because of his many "gaffes" and yet keeps strengthening in the polls. And the dirty secret that nobody is talking about is that Trump attracts a lot of support from Democratic middle class voters - especially men who think that Hillary is a crook (the Clinton Foundation has scored a billion dollars of donations in political pay-to-play deals) and a liar.
Of course, the Media won't talk about that because the narrative is that Trump must be defeated in the GOP primary or Hillary walks to victory.
Odd that you haven't seen any polls to back that up. I wonder why.
Tit For Tat is essentially a reputational game - get a bad reputation by screwing your opponent and you pay the price. The mathematics is unmistakeable on that.
The Middle Class finally has an option to play against their opponent. An opponent who has a deservedly poor reputation.
No wonder Trump's support seems rock solid. The mathematics is unshakeable.