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2008 Wonk Edition


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I'd like to start off by saying that I really do like this scenario. It's a great update on the "main" scenario.

There are, however, a few beefs I can find:

-Thompson. IMHO, he needs to be weaker in CA; he often carries the state (while getting blown out in the South) without winning any states in the pre-Super Tuesday runup.

-In general, at least on the GOP side, no wins before Super Tuesday should cause a poll tank if you're over about 5% (Paul isn't affected because he starts in the gutter, and because he's just a protest candidate in reality), and induce dropping out (which the drop in the polls will tend to do). I know this is a programming issue, but IRL there tends to be a "no wins by X date and you're in big trouble" line after about a half-dozen states. The only candidates to bust this norm this side of 1980 have been Jesse Jackson in '84 and Paul Simon in '88 (one had a racial constituency to fall back on; the other became the last favorite son).

-Likewise, I'd put in the ability to have "do or die" thresholds in delegate count on certain dates (which, if not met, give you a major crash in the polls a la the second suggestion).

In general, the scenario's great, but Fred Thompson really is a pain to simulate. I'm half-inclined to put in a "Fred forgets to set his alarm clock" press event (50% chance) to induce tanking outside the South (which is badly, badly needed IMHO; he didn't even try outside of IA and SC) in mid-November (when the wheels finally came off IRL).

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Mike Gravel should be added in as a protest candidate. I'm aware Kucinich already fills that function, but Gravel had some effect on the primaries and was in the debates just like Kucinich. He is also fairly moderate and would make much more sense as the Democratic nominee. Basically, he'd be the Democratic Ron Paul much moreso than Kucinich, who mainly gets votes from the more labor and Green-esque factions of the party who feel the current Party isn't progressive.

Also, Independent (Nader) and Green need to be in. I'd say Nader is the most well known and McKinney possibly the least, but the Green Party is a 'major' third party along with the Libertarian and Constitution parties, not to mention probably the biggest in comparison.

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It's also relevant to mention that the Green Party and Nader have managed to outfundraise all of the other third-parties.

If the constitutionalists and libertarians act as spoilers for the reps, it's only fair for the greens and naderites to act as spoilers for the dems.

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I'd like to start off by saying that I really do like this scenario. It's a great update on the "main" scenario.

There are, however, a few beefs I can find:

-Thompson. IMHO, he needs to be weaker in CA; he often carries the state (while getting blown out in the South) without winning any states in the pre-Super Tuesday runup.

In general, the scenario's great, but Fred Thompson really is a pain to simulate. I'm half-inclined to put in a "Fred forgets to set his alarm clock" press event (50% chance) to induce tanking outside the South (which is badly, badly needed IMHO; he didn't even try outside of IA and SC) in mid-November (when the wheels finally came off IRL).

Fair enough. In my games he usually faded before that, but the FPTP system in big Republican primaries does lead to odd results for minor/failing candidates. (It happens with Democrats, but because of proportionality it's really hard for Biden, say, to translate an Iowa win into much. With Republicans just winning a couple big states gives you a solid block of delegates.)

The event engine can't handle per-state or per-region tankings, but I can weaken his non-South numbers in terms of Undecided/leaning voters.

-In general, at least on the GOP side, no wins before Super Tuesday should cause a poll tank if you're over about 5% (Paul isn't affected because he starts in the gutter, and because he's just a protest candidate in reality), and induce dropping out (which the drop in the polls will tend to do). I know this is a programming issue, but IRL there tends to be a "no wins by X date and you're in big trouble" line after about a half-dozen states. The only candidates to bust this norm this side of 1980 have been Jesse Jackson in '84 and Paul Simon in '88 (one had a racial constituency to fall back on; the other became the last favorite son).

-Likewise, I'd put in the ability to have "do or die" thresholds in delegate count on certain dates (which, if not met, give you a major crash in the polls a la the second suggestion).

Yeah… like you said it's a programming issue. Events are not fine-grained enough and cannot react to in-game events. In-game the ideal is that not winning any of the early news boosting primaries means you get swamped in momentum by those who do (which is one reason I adjusted the news bonuses).

Mike Gravel should be added in as a protest candidate. I'm aware Kucinich already fills that function, but Gravel had some effect on the primaries and was in the debates just like Kucinich. He is also fairly moderate and would make much more sense as the Democratic nominee. Basically, he'd be the Democratic Ron Paul much moreso than Kucinich, who mainly gets votes from the more labor and Green-esque factions of the party who feel the current Party isn't progressive.

Honestly? He wins too often, so much so that it can tend to break the game. If I put him in I have to add events which keep his momentum massively negative, which then means he drops out quite fast.

Also, Independent (Nader) and Green need to be in. I'd say Nader is the most well known and McKinney possibly the least, but the Green Party is a 'major' third party along with the Libertarian and Constitution parties, not to mention probably the biggest in comparison.

I was on a deadline (which, incidentally, I actually missed) and there were more pressing concerns. Likewise, right now I'm working on something for TheorySpark with a tight deadline as well. However after the election I can revisit the scenario to adjust it based on actual results and to add in stuff like the Green Party.

It's also relevant to mention that the Green Party and Nader have managed to outfundraise all of the other third-parties.

If the constitutionalists and libertarians act as spoilers for the reps, it's only fair for the greens and naderites to act as spoilers for the dems.

Perhaps Barr in Georgia (more likely with the Libertarian candidate in the Senate race) and perhaps Perot (or, um, Ron Paul) in Montana, but aside from that there isn't much in the way of spoiling anything. As I said above, I plan to add them… but it won't be anytime soon.

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EM,

Don't forget Nader, FL, 2000 (or was it all of those retired Jewish Buchananites that threw things?:P).

Edit: I think you meant Baldwin or Paul for Montana this time around.

That said, spoilering tends to be rare unless you've got X, Y, and Z, and Z attacks X, knocking him below Y.

As to the substance above, I agree with trimming his non-South numbers; it'll achieve that objective pretty well. CA's the only big deal, really, and that's more because there doesn't tend to be a clear front-runner, which means that (insert candidate here) can muddle through and win CA. Usually it breaks for Romney if Mitt's doing well (realistic, IMHO; he came close enough IRL).

It's a shame about the inability to react to in-game events; I'll hope for the Programming Fairy to give us at least some of that for 2012 (seeing how the "early" 2000 [which used a random distribution of state voting patterns each time], the "main" 2000 [which used quasi-realistic numbers, but in which I still once got 95% as McCain], 2004, and 2008 editions stack up against eachother, this isn't too far out there).

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Don't forget Nader, FL, 2000 (or was it all of those retired Jewish Buchananites that threw things?:P).

Edit: I think you meant Baldwin or Paul for Montana this time around.

"Let's do the time warp again", and yeah I meant Ron Paul. But, presumably, Nader Florida votes were X% Gore votes which would have been enough but to get that you would have to postulate that Nader didn't run at all—butterflies dictate that perhaps Gore would have lost anyway or perhaps he would have done enough better that Florida wouldn't have mattered.

To quote the West Wing "they're not your votes".

That said, spoilering tends to be rare unless you've got X, Y, and Z, and Z attacks X, knocking him below Y.

Yep. It's rare too, especially in modern Presidential races. You could give all off Anderson's votes to Carter—unlikely as that might be—and offhand I think Reagan would still win in 1980 all things considered. The Georgia Senate race, for example, requires a 50% threshold to avoid a run-off but that's a special case where a spoiler can really matter.

You can see another example in the Minnesota Senate race. Coleman and Franken have spent half a year engaged in one of the nastier fights (at least until recently) of the cycle and the third party vote, granting that Minnesota is particularly hospitable to independents, is no more than a soft 15% and although it tends to lean Democratic it's still not really screwing either candidate.

It's a shame about the inability to react to in-game events; I'll hope for the Programming Fairy to give us at least some of that for 2012 (seeing how the "early" 2000 [which used a random distribution of state voting patterns each time], the "main" 2000 [which used quasi-realistic numbers, but in which I still once got 95% as McCain], 2004, and 2008 editions stack up against each other, this isn't too far out there).

To be clear I have a very limited idea of what will be in President Forever 2012 (and, not to tease, I can't tell you anyway), but that would be nice… I have to admit they'd be well down the list of things that I want though.

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