Disclosure: This article is primarily mathematical in nature but the very act of discussing politics makes it difficult to fully remove bias. I feel obligated to disclose that I'm a member of the Green Party. While I'm neither a Republican or Democrat, I tend to lean to the north-west section of the Nolan chart. However, I do intend to try my best to make this analysis as neutral as humanly possible.
During my regular social media browsing the other day, I came across two posts of interest.
The first was a statement from the Green Party of Virginia about why they are not endorsing Bernie Sanders ahead of the primary. While I had expected this to be the case, there was a section of this statement that really caught my attention: "Whether individual Greens choose to vote for Sanders on March 1st is a choice that will depend on their own calculus of what is best for the country" (emphasis mine).
Since one of the co-chairs of the GPVA is a mathematician, I could reasonably assume that the reference to calculus was intended to mean exactly what it says. The problem is that the general population doesn't usually look at elections from this perspective. People tend to vote based on gut feelings rather than mathematical analysis. For this reason, I disagree with the GPVA's decision. I feel that they have the responsibility to provide party members with information on how to maximize their influence on the election and calculus isn't a strong point for most voters. If the GPVA refuses to take sides in the primary, then I feel obligated to do so in their place.
The second was a data visualization of how various primary candidates would fare against each other in a general election:
— Joe DiNoto (@mathteacher1729) February 25, 2016
With "Super Tuesday" fast approaching, this was exactly the kind of information that I needed! This effectively provides a payoff matrix for the primary candidates to which I can apply my "political calculus".
Continue reading "Political Calculus"