The Election Interference Game

Election interference, in which one country conspires to elect a favored candidate in another country, is a classic example of a non-cooperative game. Game theory pits two opponents against one another to achieve a goal, wherein one player’s path to success is contingent upon the strategy of the other. Therefore, when news of suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election made headlines, economist and mathematician David Dewhurst set out to model the allegations as optimal game play.

This paper review for SIAM News has tweets, US presidential election meddling, and Russian espionage! Who knew that math and game theory could be so exciting? This paper was fascinating to read and write about. And I was amazed by the take-away: “If you’re the FBI, you don’t want Hillary Clinton to win and you don’t want Donald Trump to win,” Dewhurst said of the 2016 election. “You just want a free and fair election. The issue is that if you take that strategy, Red always wins. So if you want to stop Red from interfering, you actually have to interfere on behalf of one of the other candidates.” I wonder if any FBI agents have read this one.

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