Books about Political Campaigns

While researching consumer GPS receiver market share for my 925 at the URI library I also looked for books about US presidential campaigns. I found a couple that I checked out:

  1. Playing to Win: An Insider’s Guide to Politics (1980) – link
  2. The Presidential Campaign (1978) – link
  3. The American Campaign: US Presidential Campaigns and the National Vote (2008) – link
  4. The Presidential Election Game (1978) – link

The first two are over 30 years old so I’ll probably just read them in a day or two to see if I can get any¬†anecdotal ideas. While paging through number three I came across an interesting chart that outlined parties positions on issues in recent political elections that will probably help in my thinking about how to implement Issues and how they’ll affect the simulation.

Issue Democratic Position Republican Position
Income tax cuts Oppose or favor if targeted to middle- and lower-income citizens Support across the board and favor capital gains tax cuts
Domestic program spending Favor more spending or smaller cuts Favor holding the line or larger cuts
National defense spending Favor holding the line or larger cuts Favor more spending or smaller cuts
Environmental policy Highly support, with no roll back Favor reducing government regulation to help business and development
Civil rights and affirmative action Support aggressive enforcement Oppose quotas and reverse discrimination
Crime policy Support rehabilitation, address societal reasons for criminal behavior Emphasize swift, sure punishment that fits the crime
Gun control Support Oppose
Abortion rights Support, “pro-choice” Oppose, “pro-life”
Minimum wage Favor keeping and increasing Oppose increasing because it would increase unemployment
Education Favor more spending Offer more parental choice, with vouchers for public or private schools
Health care Favor greater government involvement and funding Hold steady or reduce government role in, protect private health care system
Balanced budget amendment Oppose, as obstacle to flexible fiscal policy Favor as necessary discipline on federal budget makers
Assistance to state and local governments Favor, targeting poorer communities, requiring compliance with national standards and policies Offer less, giving funds and letting states and communities determine how to use them; more reticent about attaching strings to assistance

My thinking on Issues right now is that issues have to be qualified instead of generic, “Favor greater government involvement and funding in health care” instead of just “Health care,” and both candidates have to agree or disagree with that qualified issue.

Number four is the kind of book I was hoping to find but will probably contain very little information that I can use in CP. From the author’s preface:

“The use of the term ‘game’ in the title of this book is intended to convey both the competitive character of presidential elections and the strategic interdependence of decisions made by the players at each stage in a presidential campaign. . . In this book, the tools of modern decision theory and game theory are used to analyze presidential campaigns and elections.”

Great – Plug in some formulas into an Objective-C game framework, wrap the whole thing in a gorgeous user interface, and submit to the Apple app store. However, I remember what Chris Crawford said in “How Balance of Power was Created” chapter of his book Balance of Power: International Politics as the Ultimate Global Game:

“I thought I had struck gold when I found a book entitled The War Trap (Bueno de Mesquita 1981). Here was a complete, mathematically expressed theory for the genesis of wars It seemed that all I needed to do was program in the professor’s formulas, plug in some data, and I would have my game. Further study, though, disabused me of that idea. His work was very interesting but not quite germane to the goals of my game. It was reassuring, though, to know that somebody else had seriously attempted to express geopolitical interactions in mathematical terms. At least I wasn’t alone in the effort.”

See how we build by standing on the shoulders of giants. So the book will probably be interesting to go through but it probably won’t simplify the development of CP by much.

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