The Games of Governance

Democracy is often orated on as a collaboration of vast and varied individuals, but in practice it seems to be a mitigation of large and complex conflicts into a more numerous amount of smaller conflicts with that can still be quite complex but are also often tinged with absurd humor in their apparent simplicity, at least to some. As much of economics has demonstrated, competition is often an excellent way of producing the best possible results, or rather, the most widely desired. The problem that seems to arise in national politics, and I suspect, most levels, is that the competition lines often become blurred. Surely, this is a good thing, as compromise demands agreeing with or at least conceding to former competitors. It is not the coming together that causes the most problems in the political process, it is the individual undercutting another individual or group. A classic game theory scenario. As this article in the economist discusses(, one party has historically been better than the other at minimizing the losses from these games and maximizing the gains. It shouldn’t be hard to get which

 The discussion centers around the irony that the party most often championing the strength and superiority of the hardworking individual in pursuit of his or her interests has made greater use of the power of collective and collaborative action built around individual party members sticking to party line even against their and their constituents interests. A Republican are far more likely than a Democrat to stay strict to the party leaders to make greater gains later on and overall. A Democrat, however, will often undercut the party, strengthening themselves at the expense of party power. This is based around a multi-game scenario, but we can see how this leads to two separate Nash equilibria of all cooperation or all pursuing individual interests

 Thankfully, this isn’t enough to control Washington and policies, at least not forever, but it does serve as an explanation for how the Republican were so prolific during the last decade and how they still control a disproportionate amount of the national legislative dialogue given they only control the House, and not by that much.

 I’m curious what kind of structuring has taken place that keeps one side so tightly knit and cooperative. I’ve often heard that the Republicans tend to have more forceful party leader, but haven’t followed long enough to see how this historically holds. I’m wondering if perhaps someone on the blue side could log the time each individual votes with or against party and contrast these trends with GOP results then show how this behavior isn’t maximizing longer term results. Though of course politicians seem to love listening to sound economics as much as they do thinking long term, so we’re not likely to see that. Maybe the ratio of collaboration calculated could be used by the party as a test for the amount of support an individual member and their initiatives would receive from the party. This might incentivize the other equilibrium and hopefully competition could go from in the party to outside of this, ideally producing the best situations from healthy debate and concession but almost certainly not doing anything remotely close to that.