The core political model in the Democracy series has a massive flaw. That flaw is that voter group satisfaction with the state of the country directly corresponds to their support of your government. Furthermore, voter group satisfaction is based on an objective scale that is consistent between countries.
This has a number of negative effects:
It makes it hard for the game to represent both first and third world countries. If the bar for reelection is set low enough that a player can reach in one term in a third world country, than either winning in first world countries will be trivial or countries will be forced into unrealistic similarity.
Countries that are heavily skewed in one direction at the start have odd politics. For example, if the player starts in an extremely conservative country, and spends all their political capital liberalizing it, they will be loved by the conservatives and hated by the liberals, because on a global scale the country is still quite conservative. In fact, the liberals will probably be actively trying to kill you.
Related to the above, if I’m playing a country like France, I shouldn’t be getting credit from the socialists for the economic status quo that is decades older than my government.
So what should be done about it? I would recommend keeping the overall measure of satisfaction, and having that tie in pressure and terrorist groups, but adding another metric to voter groups: political support. Political support would be based on how much that group’s political satisfaction has changed while you’ve been in power, with a small influence from overall satisfaction, especially in the absence (maintaining a good or bad status quo should still have some effect). Voting behavior would then be based on political support.
I think this change would make the political model in Democracy more realistic, and eliminate a lot of bizarre quirks of the system as it stands.
There is stuff like cynicism and complacency.
I guess they could be much stronger.
High voter satisfaction - high positive complacency bringing it lower.
You are used to new status quo, you like it.
Low voter satisfaction - high negative complacency bringing approval higher.
Despite that voters would join pressure group - implement suggested policies or else we’ll spread misinformation (which is damaging for lots of stuff) or even join terrorist groups.
Those with highest income would have lobbying power too - I suggested mechanic like that.
I also suggested mechanic that interacts with voter apathy
Compulsory voting is an option but its set for each country at the start, and arguably it should be a new policy… thinks strongly about this.
I second the view that the complacency mechanic is supposed to represent what you describe, regarding socialists in France. Its possible that this is not strong enough, or not communicated well to the player. I know its on the polls/voter types screen, but maybe should be more prominent…
Ha, thats an interesting point. Although in practice is that a thing? Or does it go the other way. Would be interesting to know if anyone has done research on this. (ie: does a policy change result in a bigger shift in support by strong opponents than by those who have no strong view)
The thing is, political calculation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In the Democracy games, voters will ascribe anything and everything to the opposition, which they wouldn’t do in real life. If I’m unhappy about the third world African country I live still not having a first world standard of living despite four years of economic improvement, or if I’m a liberal and unhappy that while my country is no longer an Islamist theocracy, we still haven’t secularized education, then I would know that voting in another party is unlikely to fix that.
In order to make that behavior work, either voter groups need to have a boost or drop applied to their happiness (via complacency/low expectations) or voters’ support for your government needs to be based on how their happiness has changed.
In the long run, is it not the case that dissatisfied voters do eventually vote for the oppositon, because a new opposition emerges, or an existing one mutates, in order to make them attractive to those unhappy voters?
For example you could say that in the UK, the most socially conservative right wing anti-immigration voters who had no voice after the conservatives drifted to the center, resulted in the formation of the UK independence party.
And also… the dissatisfied and effectively disenfranchised hard-left of the labour party in the UK effectively took over the labour party in opposition so those voters suddenly did have an opposition party for them.
I think its true that with real niche extremists views a party will not form, becase it wouldnt be large enough to be relevant, but in that case its not relevant to the game :D.
In the long run, maybe. But if Jeremy Corbyn had though some horrifying series of events become PM, moved Britain firmly to the left but not as far as his hardcore supporters would have liked, I don’t think said supporters would vote Tory in the next election. The new Overton Window model does do a much better job of handling ideological voters, and I suppose if we consider being primaried/no-confidenced out of power abstracted into opposition voting, it does make sense.
Nevertheless, I think the divides in material circumstances between different scenarios should be compensated for in the political system. A state of fantastic improvement that would guarantee a landslide victory in Botswana should guarantee a landslide defeat in America. And while getting re-elected in a third world country should maybe be somewhat harder (if only for gameplay reasons) it shouldn’t be nigh impossible.