Thursday, February 25, 2016

Candidates Kasich and Rubio playing "chicken"

The NY Times uses game theory to analyze the Republican Primary.  Here are the payoffs:

Although Mr. Rubio is the obvious establishment favorite, leading Mr. Kasich in national polls, prediction markets and delegate math, the two are splitting some votes. To have his best chance against Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Mr. Rubio needs Mr. Kasich to drop out. The longer both candidates remain in the race, the worse it is for both of them. It’s safe to assume neither would like to see Mr. Trump get the nomination.

So Rubio and Kasich would like the other to drop out ("swerve") while they contest the nomination ("go straight"), and each would hate to see Trump win the nomination (they "crash" if each goes "straight"). And both dropping out would likely lead to a Trump victory.

Here are three obvious strategies: commitments, promises, and threats. Here is the obvious promise:
...Mr. Rubio could offer Mr. Kasich [to pick him as a running mate] in exchange for dropping out — provided he becomes the nominee, of course. (A simple Google search of “Rubio Kasich side deals” produces no shortage of opinions on the matter.)

HT:  David


  1. Seems like a perfect opportunity for collusion. Do you think Rubio or Kasich has the stronger position in any negotiation? it seems as if Rubio has more to lose in this instance.

  2. Rubio’s supporters have pressured Kasich to drop out of the race, but Kasich has no reason to do so.

    Rubio may have more Establishment support than Kasich, but both candidates have a trivial number of delegates so far, and Super Tuesday did nothing to change that. Rubio’s Establishment support, furthermore, is predicated upon the popularity Rubio amassed by appealing across the party, an asset Rubio is now jeopardizing.

    Kasich has many positive qualities to offer as a nominee. He’s an accomplished legislator and governor in a crucial swing state. His policy platform is rock-solidly reliable to the party’s donor base, and he has a pleasant persona.
    In some ways, Kasich is an older version of Rubio. Where Rubio tells everybody he’s the son of a bartender, Kasich tells everybody he’s the son of a mailman. Rubio opens demographic doors among nonwhite voters and the Sun Belt, while Kasich does so in the Midwest.

    If Rubio manages to prevent Trump from winning a majority of the delegates, then Kasich will be poised to benefit. Suppose that on March 15, Kasich wins Ohio while Rubio loses Florida. Then Rubio might have to drop out, and Kasich might find himself positioned as the primary non-Trump candidate. Alternatively, if Kasich wins Ohio and Rubio wins Florida or loses but decides to stay in the race anyway , then the fight could simply last until the convention.

    Even if he brings few delegates to Cleveland, Kasich might wind up as the consensus choice. A bitter delegate fight to deny Trump the nomination will ultimately require the party to settle on a standard who can satisfy Trump or, at least, his supporters.

    Kasich’s strategy of making no enemies within the party and of making nice with Trump in particular, would render him the perfect choice to heal the party.

    Chait , Jonathan ( 2016)Why the Winner of Marco Rubio Versus Donald Trump Might Be John Kasich

  3. Political candidates often play the game of chicken, in which they attempt to pressure each other in various ways, usually through mud-slinging, threats, or promises in an effort to get the other to back out of the political race. If neither backs down, then they may both fall out of the race. This is what went on between John Kasich and Marco Rubio. In the battle for enough delegates to have a chance at winning the Republican Nomination against Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Kasich and Rubio were gaining few delegates on their own. Both were tough in talk of staying in the race no matter what, however, the longer both remained in the race, the worse it was for both of them with regard to delegate count. Rubio for a while appeared to be favored over Kasich, but he began to stumble more and more in debates and public forums. He was caving to public pressures more so than Kasich. Rubio went into attack mode where Kasich did not. Some polls began to favor Kasich over Rubio as well as Trump and Cruz in comparison of the ability to beat the potential Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton for President. However, Clinton and Bernie Sanders are engaged in their own political game of chicken.

    On the Republican side, Rubio eventually swerved, dropping out of the race, while Kasich continued straight ahead, winning the game of chicken against Rubio. What will happen next for Kasich? Only time will tell as the media continues to focus on the public battles between Trump and Cruz, and Trump and the Republican National Committee, pushing Kasich out of the limelight conceivably throughout the rest of the primary season. We may not know the winner of the Republican Presidential Nomination until the Republican National Convention in July, and then there could potentially be another battle.

    Quealy, K. (24 February 2016). Lessons From Game Theory: What Keeps Kasich in the Race? Retrieved April 13, 2016 from

  4. Brussels: The European Union on Monday called for an anti-terror alliance with Arab countries to boost cooperation and information-sharing in the wake of deadly attacks and arrests across Europe.
    European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that "we need an alliance. We need to strengthen our way of cooperating together."Mogherini later met with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby. She also attended a meeting of the EU foreign ministers who are preparing for a summit of EU leaders in February focused on terrorism. Some ministers emphasized the importance of working with Muslim countries, rather than blaming them for the problem.
    "They will continue to be in the front line, and we have to work closely with them to protect both those countries and the European Union countries," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.
    Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said, the police raids launched in his country last week to break up a suspected network of foreign fighters demonstrate that information-sharing is the key to success.
    "We have to exchange information in Europe and outside Europe to really follow what is going on and to prevent any acts that could be launched on our territory," he said.That is what long-term will provide stability and security in this region, and to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization as well," said Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem. (NDTV)

    The fight against terror has been ongoing for a number of years with victories and losses on both sides, what has been apparent is that nations though having opposing views on other issues such as trade, immigration religion etc. are as noted in this article seeking to unite against a common enemy -"the terrorists". Terrorists have brought major loses around the world loss in life, finances etc. While the countries of the EU as well as The Arab nations would love to get the bragging rights of going against terrorist alone and being victorious they realize that a united effort might give them a better chance of success as well as give them a stronger force with which to launch According to Froeb " conflict and cooperation are in tension—self-interest leads to outcomes that reduce both players’ payoffs. Cooperation can improve both players’ payoffs". When contentious parties unite according to Froeb these are the rules of play "Be nice: No first strikes. • Be easily provoked: Respond immediately to rivals. • Be forgiving: Don’t try to punish competitors too much. • Don’t be envious: Focus on your own slice of the profit pie, not on your competitor’s. • Be clear: Make sure your competitors can easily interpret your actions." - therefore if the EU and Arab nations should form a formal anti-terror alliance it would be advisable for them to apply the listed actions.

    Retrieved from :

  5. Politics is often like economics game strategy. For example, when choosing to use attack advertisements, there really is not a first-mover advantage because voters hate negative ads and negative campaigning; however, there is a second-mover disadvantage because they the second candidate is on the defense, trying to disprove what has been said about them. Even campaigns that start out with the promise of no negative advertisements, often end up using them. This was seen in the case of Marco Rubio and John Kasich too. Rubio started with attack ads and speeches, and Kasich did not respond in kind, which hurt Rubio. It was the beginning of his unraveling.

    The case of Marco Rubio and John Kasich staying the race, granted hindsight is 20/20, and the situation today is different than when the blog was posted in February, it really is a case of chicken. Their goal is to beat Donald Trump; however, if they both drop out, Donald Trump wins. If neither drops out, neither would likely get enough votes to secure a nomination. They had both stuck to going straight. Once it became evident that Marco Rubio was not getting the support he had hoped for, he did in fact drop out, committing to that position. Kasich committed to staying in the race. While they avoided a crash, Kasich still does not have enough support to win the nomination. But in economics game theory, Kasich could not be staying in the race long enough to take some delegates from Donald Trump in order to force a brokered convention.

    Games of chicken are nothing new to the world of politics. Political candidates often make threats and pressure people to do what they want. It is a dangerous game to play with a nation and its people.

  6. Politics is a tough game to play and it does closely resemble chicken. This article uses a nice breakdown of game theory to describe the current political situation. Playing nice and trying to get on as the competitor’s running mate could be a good idea but at that point you are already kind of admitting defeat. The competition is steep in politics, you either win (go straight) or lose (swerve) as they say in the article, and your entire life becomes scrutinized by the public eye. There are many antics that go on in politics that are tactics for getting your opponent to drop out. Negative campaigning is part of the political process and is done by “mud-slinging”, which is throwing out insults in the hope of damaging your opponent’s reputation. It is also common to see opponents digging up peoples past transgressions in order to put them in the public eye. If I had to choose one of the current Republican candidates that I would not want to play a game of chicken with, it would be Trump. For me, his background in business makes him a fierce competitor and he may have what it takes to persevere.

  7. The problems highlighted not only in this article but in the republican party can be aligned with what economists call the Principle-Agent conflict or incentive conflict. In the aforementioned conflict the agent tends to have different incentives or goals than the Principle. An example of this problem is when a lawyer works for a corporation and gets paid hourly. As an agent, the lawyer is going to want to work as many hours as possible in order to reap the benefits of his employment. In the Rubio and Kasich problem highlighted in the article they represent agents of the republican party (the principle). The republican party wants Kasich and Rubio to drop out at the right time in order to prevent Trump from getting the nomination. As highlighted by Froeb there are two possible solutions to incentive conflict and that includes either moving information to those who are making decisions or move decision making authority to those that have more information.

  8. The time in which political candidates are running for office can be a challenging time where many “games” arise. Candidates John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and their respective parties consider advertising dilemma when running for office as part of their strategy. Advertising is a huge aspect of campaigning and considering your options on the way you go about advertising affects your potential outcome as a candidate. Froeb, McCan, Shor, and Ward talk about the various outcomes of an advertising dilemma. They weigh the factors of advertising based on what your competitors do, but also what outcomes you may see arise from partaking in advertising. Often times candidates will down play their competitors with the use of advertising to their advantage, by attempting to steal the rival’s followers. The case of Rubio and Kasich really is a case of the game of chicken. Their end goal is to beat out Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. However, if they both drop out Donald Trump wins. If they both stay in the race they will most likely not get enough votes to stay in the running. Relating this concept back to the text Managerial Economics, Froeb, McCan, Shor, and Ward address the game by relating concepts to going straight or swerving. They each want one another to swerve by dropping out. But, if they were to both go straight and stay in the running they would crash and both fail, creating the outcome of a win for Donald Trump.

    Relating this post to the game of chicken concept from the text helped me gain a better understanding of how it works. Considering all facets; going straight, swerving or considering other options like ‘promises’ addressed in the article open up new ways of thinking in regards to everyday notions.

    Froeb, L. M., McCann, B. T., Shor, M., Ward, M. R. Managerial Economics a Problem Solving
    Approach. Fourth Edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2016.

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