A Nasty Spin on the Prisoner’s Dilemma

28 Feb

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have found their way into a sticky position. Each one has the same goal and the same major obstacles. Both men want to be their party’s nominee. Neither one is particularly fond of the other’s politics. And neither of them would be happy with Trump clinching the GOP nomination.

Each one truly sees themselves as a true Republican and wants to steer it in their preferred direction.

For Rubio, that direction is more of a ‘steady-as-she-goes’ course, in line with the ideals of the party leadership, which are consistent with of the party’s past – one might even say, this is a conservative view.

A summary of Rubio’s positions from the PBS Newshour website:

The budget: Balance it. Prioritize defense.

Climate change: It is real. It is not caused by man.

Obamacare: Repeal it. Replace it with tax credits and fewer regulations.

The Internet: Oppose net neutrality.

Immigration: Secure the border, then work towards a legal status and possible path to citizenship. More vetting for refugees.

Social issues: The Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is the law of the land. Ban abortion after 20 weeks. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Taxes: Cut corporate taxes to 25 percent. Reform the tax code. Cap economic regulations.

Cuba: Block the Obama administration’s “normalization”

Iran: Toughen sanctions. Scrap proposed nuclear deal.

Islamic State: Aid local forces in Syria and Iraq.

Cruz points in the direction that the party has been tacking toward for some time, an evangelical christian direction with extreme limits on government.

A summary of Cruz’s positions from the PBS Newshour website:

The Budget and debt: Mandate a balanced budget.

Corporations: End corporate income tax. End some programs like the Export-Import bank and federal subsidies for renewable fuels.

Common Core: End it.

Immigration: Block any current effort that lets undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S.

The Internet: Do not tax access to the Internet and block “net neutrality.”

Obamacare: Repeal it.

Social Issues: Only the four states specifically named in the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage must abide by the ruling. In general, states should be allowed to define “marriage.” There should be strict limits on abortion.

Taxes and the IRS: Move toward a flat tax and abolish the IRS.

Iran: Increase and toughen sanctions. End current nuclear talks until Congress approves the outlines of a deal.

Islamic State: Don’t send U.S. ground troops, yet. But use overpowering force otherwise, including “carpet-bombing.”

However, what stares both men in the face is the elephant in the room, Donald Trump. Oddly though, this elephant is only questionably an elephant (i.e. a Republican). What he really is is hard to say. His views don’t exactly put him in the Democratic camp. Because he essentially grew up and lives in a world that is completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of of Americans, his issues really are his own. He simply doesn’t want government to get in the way of his businesses, but recognizes the value of social services.

More importantly that beliefs are the numbers. There’s a lot of unknown there too, but regardless of the details, it is certain that either Rubio or Cruz would be doing better in the polls without the other. Which sets up an interesting take on the prisoner’s dilemma. One in which the decision to be made is, “stay in the race, or drop out?”

Well, you don’t get to be president by dropping out. But, the way things stand now, neither of them is going to get that chance at being president is they both stay in.

So, it’s a prisoner’s dilemma without the possibility of co-operating so both men get what they want.

Their version of the dilemma looks more like this:Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 10.57.43 PM.png


Presumably Super Tuesday will be the day that someone drops out, unfortunately, by waiting for those results, the window of opportunity may already be closed. So, by staying in, they may be ensuring that they both drop out.

To be honest, though, even if Cruz and Rubio can make some sort of deal for the good of their party, Trump would probably come back as a third party candidate  anyway. After all, it’s not really his party anyway.

In the interest of at least some disclosure, my major interest here is just to see the political system work better than it is presently, and even though I’m not a Republican and have never voted for one, I don’t think undermining their party in a possibly existential way is very helpful to the country. And I do agree with Jeb Bush, Trump is the chaos candidate.


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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


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