Friday, December 11, 2015

Game Theory and the rise of Donald Trump

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.


matism said...

Do not be surprised, if Trump wins the nomination, to see SOME State party organizations in the GOP refuse to put him on the ballot. That is just how corrupt the electoral system in this country has become.

Overload in Colorado said...

Two things:
1) Colorado GOP canceled their primary/caucus. Why? The national GOP put a new rule in place that a state had to put their votes to whomever won the popular 'vote' in the primary/caucus. Colorado GOP didn't want to be disenfranchised if the state voted for a candidate who later dropped out before the convention. Now, their delegates will for whomever they wish to.
2) Isn't Trump an Elite?

matism said...

Elite, Overload in Colorado, are not merely wealthy, but "in". Trump has the $$$, but does not seem to be a fan of NWO. And without the mark of that Beast, he cannot be an Elite.

talnik said...

The outcome has already been determined between both parties and Trump, who all know how to sucker the trusting American people: 1. Trump runs on what motivates the majority of the electorate this time around (limiting immigration) attracting a plurality of potential voters 2. Trump is "forced" to run as a third party candidate, splitting that majority (ala Ross Perot) 3. Hillary wins on a "mandate of the people" for more unfettered immigration 4. We fell for it again.

abnormalist said...

BP, I respect your opinions, but I think you spend too much time listening to the same people on your theories...

Trump is an entertaining buffoon, but he truly is a poison pill for the republican party. I give more credibility to the idea that hes actually a democrat plant than anything else. The longer he is in the race the better for Hilary it is.

Trump is actually part of the reason why Bernie is polling so well. He's gotten much of the attention from the middle class democrat voter who is disenfranchised with Hilary.

Trump is really only motivating the worst of the republican party. Very much the "these guys" from the "I'm not with these guys" votes. He would never carry the base with his blatant racism and constant trolling. What he could accomplish though is the attitude of "I cant vote for Trump, and I wont vote for Hilary, so I'll just stay home" for a significant number of Republicans, and a significant number of the swing voters who other wise identify as dems.

The powers that be team Hilary are really counting on this, then you only need enough votes to out vote those who no shame, and you win. She can do that.

Paul Bonneau said...

It won't help. The GOP establishment will be using the "Ron Paul gambit" against Trump:

"If voting could change anything, it would be illegal."

However ignoring the voters while playing those games, does come with some less visible drawbacks...

Blue said...

I think that the fascination with Trump is simply explained... Middle America is sick and tired of politics and politicians. They see something different in Trump. They will try to elect him simply because he is not seen as a politician.

What will that do? Well, like the folks above said, Hillary will be the big winner. The already fractured Republican party will be the big loser. There is no way the RNC will allow Trump to receive the nomination, no matter haw many common folk want him. Ain't happening. And the average American isn't smart enough to realize that a few fat cats hiding out behind the curtains are calling the shots. Directing the performance, if you will.

Politicians on both sides, and their respective parties, are terrified of Trump.

Could Trump be a plant to force the wedge even deeper into the already disjointed Republican party and give Hillary an advantage? I think that's fodder for someone's work of fiction somewhere down the road.

I think obama is going to do something stupid in these next few months. Something like wide ranging gun control via executive fiat. No one has tried to stop him on anything else, right? The Republicans that were sent to DC with a mandate for change in 2014 have failed their constituents miserably. They have done absolutely nothing that they were elected to do.

Something is going to wake the sleeping beast. People are finally going to do something about the erosion of their rights through executive order and the crippling taxation that keeps them from moving ahead...

Or, something else entirely.

Merry Christmas, Borepatch. ;)