There's an example from Economics that I keep thinking of. Say there is a long stretch of beach, and there are two food stands, one on each side. Where would each of them move to, to maximize profit? Well, if both are on the far end of the beach, one could move closer to the middle, and get a greater percentage of the customers (assuming the customers choose to go for whichever one is closest). While the optimal placement for customers (shortest walking time) would be one at each of the 3/4 points along the beach, equidistant from both the edge and the center, both businesses will move to the very middle, to prevent the competition from moving over any more and taking their customer base. This assumes that no other competition can move in.
This is pretty much what American Politics seems like to me. By November, McCain and Obama will be barely differentiable, but everyone to Obama's left will vote for him, and everyone to McCain's right would vote for him. This is what a two party system does; going back to the beach analogy, if given no other choices, and Hitler were running for the Republicans and Stalin for the Democrats, right at the edges of the beach, then the voting results would be fairly similar.
This is what happened in the 2000, election, at least. Bush was a moderate-conservative and Gore was a moderate-liberal. That was just branding, of course, because both have turned out to be quite different than they were when running.
On the NYT’s “Building Trade Walls”
5 months ago