Game theory problem for Democrat in unsafe districts, who are already refusing to pass Obama’s extremely modest jobs bill. Let’s assume the following game grid.
|VOTE NO||VOTE YES|
So I’ve based these guesstimate numbers on evidence gleaned from Nate Silver about how the health care reform and bailout bills hurt Democrats. I also assume that Democrats benefited from an overall improvement in the economy thanks to the stimulus. Without the bailout package, the economy would have probably tanked further, thus totally dooming Democrats’ 2010 election hopes. (That’s why “Bill Fails” leads to a continued decline in vote share.) Silver writes:
There are inherent limitations to this sort of analysis. It does seem fairly clear, however, that individual Democrats who voted against the health care bill — and the bailout extension – overperformed those who did in otherwise similar districts who voted for them, and it seems probable that these votes also damaged the electoral standing of Democrats over all.
If this is the case (and there are plenty of reasons why it might not be), then this game would suggest that the ideal situation for Democrats would be voting against the bill, but somehow getting the bill passed anyways. Yet, this is almost certainly impossible. If even Democrats don’t support the bill, it immediately falls into the Bill Fails category, thus hurting all Democrats.
Basically, the collective-action problem here causes Democrats to vote “no,” hoping that the bill will still pass. This leads the bill to probably not pass (or get watered down substantially), which leads to a worse economy and all Democrats getting boned. Thus, the least bad scenario would be to vote yes and accept the 1% decline in exchange for the expected effects of the added stimulus to the economy. But no one can do it because everyone fears wipeout in November.
And yet, they fail to realize that if Obama does not perform well in November, NONE OF THEM WILL EITHER.
And thus, the story of how Democrats shot themselves in the foot/arm/face. Again. As always.