Cory Leonard

The Comprehensive Case v. Trump

In politics on September 16, 2016 at 9:58 pm


No need to rehash all my Tweets and posts from the past. Enjoy this marvelous summation from Peter Weher, a smart, thoughtful Republican:

The strongest case to make for conservatives supporting Donald Trump is a modest one. It goes like this: He is a deeply flawed man who is running against someone who is even more deeply flawed. Hillary Clinton is a person with liberal instincts who has been pulled further to the left in this campaign. She is also an ethical wreck whose career is laced with ineptitude, from HillaryCare to her handling of the Libyan fiasco, the Russian “re-set,” the Syrian civil war and spreading disorder in the world. So while Trump may be imperfect, the odds of him doing some good, on some issues, are better than in the case of Clinton. He is problematic; she is worse. And so, given the choice between two massively imperfect candidates for president, we are obligated to support the one who will do the least amount of damage and perhaps, if we’re lucky, a bit of good here and there.

This is a point of view held by some intelligent and well-intentioned people. It deserves a serious response from those of us who will not vote


And if you are still a discouraged Republican aiming for #NeverTrump, try this: strategic vote-swapping via  App. (How very 2016.)

Shall I Unfriend Thee, Political Foe?

In politics on August 26, 2016 at 8:10 pm


From Leticia Bode, new research on that issue of the century–talking politics on social media.

Social media allow users some degree of control over the content to which they are exposed, through blocking, unfriending, or hiding feeds from other users. This article considers the extent to which they do so for political reasons. Survey data from Pew Research suggests that political unfriending is relatively rare, with fewer than 10% of respondents engaging in the practice. Analysis finds support for the idea that political unfriending is most common among those who talk about politics, those strongest in ideology, those that see the most politics in social media, and those that perceive the greatest political disagreement in their social networks. This suggests that social media are not exacerbating the political information gap as political information on social media is likely still reaching the least politically engaged, whereas the most politically engaged may opt out of political information within social media but still receive it elsewhere.

via Sage Journals | Pruning the news feed: Unfriending and unfollowing political content on social media

Game Theory for the Win: Explaining Ted Cruz

In politics on July 29, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Some might say that Ted Cruz is a traitor. Others see him as a spur in Trump’s saddle. Another, more satisfying explanation is that Cruz is a rational actor (champion debater, actually), and had a strategic goal in standing up to Trump at the RNC Convention.

With that in mind, think of the GOP speakers as poker players. Trump has led the betting, and they are all holding bad cards. How will they respond? Poker pro Phil Hellmuth once reduced all poker players to five distinct types: the mouse, jackal, elephant, lion, and eagle. We don’t need to discuss all of them here, but suffice it to say that Trump is a jackal—he always bets big, regardless of the hand he’s holding. Jackals can be difficult to play against because, as in Nixon’s Mad Man theory, they don’t abide by the rational rules of poker. This makes it hard to tell if they’re bluffing, but it also makes them vulnerable to an opponent who catches good cards and isn’t afraid to bet them, because they’ll never fold but just keep raising until they’ve bet all their chips on a losing hand. But so far, Trump’s opponents have acted as mice: fundamentally weak players who are too timid to take a risk on less-than-perfect cards and fold against a more aggressive player. When mice face jackals, they tend to wait too long to make a move while the jackal slowly eats up their ante bets. Eventually they are forced to make a last-gasp bet with bad cards before they run out of chips.

via How Poker Theory Explains Ted Cruz’s Convention Speech | WIRED