This Isn’t a Game, It’s Game Theory

By Ira Seidman — part four of twelve in the series decentralize

What is the most important attribute to look for when voting for a candidate? Many people look to party affiliation, a position or two, and demographics. Funny that we often do not look for good ideas. We use all sorts of proxies — “well Democrats care about social safety nets and that’s a good idea, so I’ll vote for the Democrat.” Or “I like Medicare for All, so I’ll vote for so-and-so.” “She’s black and diversity is important.” While I agree with all of these sentiments, they cannot be our priorities. The single most important characteristic of a leader is that their ideas are good.

It does not matter how effective a leader is if their ideas are bad. It does not matter how much experience they have if they are just going to use it to uphold a broken status quo. It does not even matter how good a speaker they are if they are just going to use their gift for chaos. That is why I’m running first and foremost on my ideas. I’ve made all my positions extremely clear on my website and past papers, and that is the basis on which I want to be scrutinized. Of course it matters if candidates will be effective once they are in office, but it only matters once we have determined that their ideas are worthwhile.

I am by no measures an expert in any way on game theory — I have no training, education, or formal experience with it. But I do have a deep respect for the concept, which goes a little something like this. Every system has rules, and as we add rules they interact with each other and have consequences. Game theory is the discipline of analyzing and predicting exactly how these rules will interplay and then acting accordingly for the benefit of one actor or the entire system. For Monopoly the game is set up where you can make much more money once you have a monopoly, so game theory would prioritize getting a monopoly to win. For cities, we need to work within the confines of nature and our existing legal structure. The beauty about democracies that is different from Monopoly though is that we as the people actually have some say in legal confines we superimpose on ourselves.

In the midst of the pandemic there’s not a whole lot else to do other than analyze. My roommates and I at the time explored the question of if we could appoint five to ten new members of the Senate what would we want those people to look like. Naturally I said people who would decentralize power, but one of my roommates said they would want five to ten random people and the other said five to ten mathematicians. These answers go to show what we prioritize — the first roommate is looking for diversity and the second roommate game theory. I think I am the candidate at the intersection of all three, especially with regards to diversity as direct democracy would bring millions of under-represented people into the political fold in a way that no one candidate ever could otherwise.

I want Democrats in charge because I believe social safety nets make the best society; if Republicans had their way game theory tells us our society would be plagued with unchecked wealth-inequality that only gets worse over time. I love popular positions these days like legalizing marijuana and bringing the troops home as much as the next person. I believe in a government that looks like its constituency. But most importantly, I believe in government that works. I will not stand by idly while my democracy crumbles under the weight of cronyism, electronic voting fraud, and foreign actors. While we are at a time in American democracy where it is of utmost importance to make sure we have under-represented people representing us, the number one thing this democracy needs is good ideas, and that’s why I’m running. No idea is worth proposing if the government is too corrupt to implement it, and that’s why every other candidate’s game theory is off. They tell us they’ll balance the budget, get control of the MTA, fix our roads, and walk our dogs, but we all know the government is corrupt. Game theory tells us to fix the corruption in government first, and that’s why I’m running. If there was a woman in the race who was championing direct democracy I would likely vote for her. I would do the same for a person of color but there sadly are no options, so that’s why I’m running. We cannot sit around congratulating ourselves on our historically diverse Congress while the ice caps melt. We cannot bring back George Floyd with Kamala Harris in the White House. All we can do is commit unequivocally to game theory, or as it’s more commonly known, good ideas.

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