Cruz and Kasich and Game Theory

“Cruz and Kasich camps agreed to divvy up three upcoming state primary contests. They plan to not compete with each other in a last-ditch effort to deny Trump the delegate count he needs to win the nomination outright and force an open convention where Kasich and Cruz might stand a better chance of securing the nomination for themselves.”

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This is an example of what is known as the “prisoner’s dilemma” which stems from the following idea: two criminals are caught and each faces a dilemma; either confessing before the other or hoping that the other doesn’t confess because they’ll both be better off if nobody confesses. Furthermore, a game theory scholar by the name of William Poundstone took it a step further calling this a “repeated prisoner’s dilemma” where each prisoner is looking to cooperate for a higher, common goal instead of doing what is in their best interest.

This cooperation is a last effort to try and prevent Trump from accumulating victories. Poundstone also added that this agreement is an example of another Game Theory concept called “the stag hunt”.  “A stag hunt is really named after the idea of medieval stag hunting, where you have a group of hunters, and no one could hunt a stag on their own. It’s something where you have to cooperate with other hunters,” said Poundstone. “In that situation, there is really this incentive for people to cooperate, and that’s what I think you’re seeing between Kasich and Cruz.”

It’s fascinating to see a concept like this reflected in political campaigning. The concepts learned in this course are clearly very universally applicable to other aspects of life other than how we’re applying them now.

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