Monday, September 16, 2019

Game Theory

This column does make some interesting arguments about the Electoral College, namely the way it works in the age of statistical analysis. Gaming the EC has had the same sorts of results on presidential campaigning that the statistical min-maxing of the Moneyball/Sabermetrics era has had on baseball.
"As it stands now most of the country, both rural and urban, goes ignored during presidential campaigns as candidates compete for victory in the Electoral College. FairVote, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to electoral reforms, tracked public campaigning in the 2016 election and found that apart from private fundraisers or studio appearances, the major parties focused solely on those states that were deemed as competitive.

For instance, after the two major party conventions concluded, 94% of all public campaigning took place in 12 states, and 70% took place in just six states. No major party candidate held a rally, gave a speech or held a public event in any state with only three electoral votes.

The same is true for many of the most highly populated states. FairVote's analysis found that Donald Trump and Mike Pence failed to campaign in more than half of the 50 states, while Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine failed to campaign in nearly three-quarters of the states in the union.
For all that it may be statistically valid, I can't help but read that article's headline, "The road to abolish the Electoral College may just run through Texas", as "The road to Sarajevo may just run through Texas".