Real life limitations missing = no integrity?

Here it is … I am the head of a political party. That party must stand for something! I must stand for something!

The problem I have is that it seems that in either Dem1 or Dem2, I am totally free to wheel and deal as I like as long as it gets me votes. Now, in real life would I be able compromise the principles of my party just to gain votes? Would I be able to go against a position that I championed for 10-20 years just to gain votes?

I think not. I think the political leader should have some constraints imposed upon them by the game.


(1) Pop Top’s Tropico 1 provided El Presidente with a personality (dossier). Thus, there were certain groups that naturally warmed to him due to his similar background to theirs. El Presidente was encouraged by the game to accept the political realities of how he came to power in Tropico 1.

(2) Paradox’s Victoria. You represent the head of a party and a government. Based on the form of government and the principals of the party, you were constrained as to what you might do regarding various social policies and military spending.

It seems to me that the Democracy game system should place some constraints on the player which he must function within and still achieve his goals. So, for example, perhaps I am a hawk (big on defense spending). This may not be popular with the electorate due to the high tax burden, but then as their leader I must find new means to fuel economic growth such that I can continue a bloated military and at the same time relieve the tax burden and debt crisis.


Isn’t that exactly what Tony Blair did do? Isn’t that exactly what David Cameron intends to do?

I am the Deputy Leader of a UK political party and i have to say i dont agree.

I have policies i am unwavering on but that does not stop me from thinking what this country needs and what i would need to do to gain support and votes.

At the end of the day something could happen while you were in government that would mean you have to come up with an answer their and then, you would go for the option that improves your party.

Also if you championed a policy for 10-20 years then wanted to change it for popularity that must mean you had a bad policy. You should do what the people want and if someone can admit they made a mistake and see the right choice now that is even better.

Blair lies and cheats to get around his sell outs and Cameron will say anything to get elected, even pulling away from usual conservative policies.

Well, I discussed this with my wife over dinner.

I must say she basically agrees with you folks in that politicians have no innate character and they simply will do whatever it takes to remain in office. She proceded to come up with some good examples.

I suppose the best US example I see of this is the Democratic Party and the Iraq War. In 2003, Bush has the electorate conditioned with by spending a year saying Iraq/WMD/911. Perhaps, there might have actually been Demcrats or congressional members who thought the war was wrong, but no one was going to stand up and say I oppose this war. Now, of course, there are many who oppose(d) the war in hindsight, but no one on principle opposed it in 2003. That’s my wife’s example of politicians having no moral compass other than popularity. :slight_smile:

But still I feel it is too easy in the game to be a total political animal. In the real world, the media will jump on you and start saying “flip flop” if there is not consistency in your policies.

I am wondering if PARTY MEMBERSHIP (only in Dem2) does some of what I am requesting in this thread. It seems to provide some inertia to your party and your policies making a stable political platform to be a factor in the probability of voter turn out.


If you champion an idea for 20 years, it just gets you strong support from a certain base that supports that idea as well. If you suddenly change your position to Position B, it just sits unfavorable with that base, similar to as how it would sit unfavorable with that base if you held position B for 20 years.

I think the issue is that politicians often get elected by a certain base of voters and completely alienate another base. So if they lose the support of their base and never had the support of other demographics, they’d be screwed. In Democracy 2, you can’t please everyone right at the start. You need to please a certain demographic in order to get their strong support, which is what gets more activist into your party.

I suppose it might be more accurate in the game if the people in the game had a tendency to hold a similar set of beliefs that you might see in real life. The game can have many traditional demographic groups rather than just being random. For example, people who place a strong value on conservatism should also tend towards strongly valuing religion and patriotism (at least in the US). There should be a good number of environmentalist who hold that as their single issue, while other environmentalist tend towards socialism and liberal attitudes, and perhaps very few single issue socialists or liberals. This would create a divide that would split the voters to start.

If you started off with that religious/conservative/patriot support in the beginning, you might not get many more votes by pleasing the liberal crowd, since they would tend to have many other issues that they hate you on. So you’d have to try to go after voters who were more in the middle in terms of what they care about. For example, you might seek to appeal to poor conservative parents who are unhappy because you’re not doing well with the poor or with parents, but are slightly happy because you are conservative. By either doing better with the poor or with parents, you’d acquire this swing voter. You could also court the single-issue environmentalists, and so on.

It’s true that there is a large percentage of the population who will always vote for the same party, regardless of what the party actually does or what policies it advocates. This is probably not accurately represented in the game - it is too easy to get practically (or actually) 0% and equally too easy to get in the 90s. This would never happen in real life - there would always be a good proportion of voters who would never ever vote for you, and equally a good proportion who would always vote for you no matter what. There should be, say, only 40 - 50% of the voters at most who will ever change alleigence.

Well… most of those people wouldn’t vote for another party because the other party holds too many positions they don’t like. You never see an opposition party do enough to please hardcore opponents to that party. Like in the US, even if democrats do a solid job on foreign policy, improve the economy, solve problems with poverty, run government efficiently, create a budget surplus, and even reform some tax code that gets abused, some people won’t support them because they only want to eliminate taxes and government regardless of what effects that would have. Likewise, there’s the social issues… A strong religious conservative might want the US to endorse Christianity, ban gay relationships, ban pornography, cursing, whatever else. And so they may vote for the person closest to that position they can, and nothing else could appease them. I suppose a democrat could hold a traditional democratic platform except being socially conservative and democrats would still support him, but the guy would lose to another democrat in any type of primary so wouldn’t have a chance. But if the guy could avoid being challenged by another democrat, I think there’d be lots of crossover votes from the Republican party.

Here’s some more combos or trends I think represent some demographic groups… Strong environmentalists perhaps should not care that they are motorists, and won’t be very displeased if the motorist support is terrible. Some poor can be socialist, while others are conservative (and a stronger tendency toward religious), but most poor should tend to be indifferent to the big ideas involved in liberal thinking. College education efforts should increase liberal thinking. And maybe jury trials and other liberal institutions would embed some liberal fundamentals into the society. Religious policy efforts should reduce the liberal population and increase the religious population. The elderly (retired) probably should tend toward conservative and religious more than the general population. A segment of the conservative/religious/patriot population should be capitalist (your neo-con demographic?), and maybe conservative/religious but non-patriot should tend towards socialist (your conservative values voter who focuses on efforts to help the poor). Farmers might tend to feel stronger than average towards motorist, unless they’re strong environmentalist. The wealthy might not care much for motorist, since they can afford any taxes, fees, and regulations easily.

The point I am thinking of, though, is that in the UK in the early 1990s, Labour moved quite significantly to the right, abandoning many of their traditional policies. However, most of their core vote continued to vote for them anyway. Now the Conservatives have moved to the left, abandoning many of their traditional policies. Bob Spink, a Conservative MP, left the Conservatives and joined the UK Independence Party, a party that in the last election got about 1% of the vote and no seats in Parliament. He said when he moved that the Conservative Party he was leaving was no longer the same party it had been at the last General Election, and now UKIP stood much closer to where the Conservatives had previously stood. A spokesperson for the Conservatives said that they were very pleased to hear Bob Spink say this: essentially she said that the Conservatives had changed since the previous election, Bob Spink hadn’t - he was still a “traditional” Conservative, and so they were glad that he was leaving.

Now, the outcome of this is that the Conservatives, by their own admission, are not (in policy terms) the same party they were at the last election. The party who are closest in policy terms are UKIP. So if people voted simply on policy, then presumably most of the people who voted Conservative at the last election (presumably most of them still hold the same views) would look for the party closest to their views, find it to be UKIP, and vote for them. UKIP would then get a significant share of the votes and hundreds of seats in Parliament. But it won’t happen. The vast majority of those who voted Conservative at the last election will vote for them again, despite the fact that the policies on offer are substantially different. It just goes to show that people will vote for parties out of loyalty or habit, rather than because of the policies they are promising.

So, going back to my initial question relative to real world behavior, does the game make it too easy for the player to secure an adequate number of votes by any means necessary? Are there real world constraints that are basic, but not modeled such that purely self-interest behavior by politicians is constrained to some extent?

For me, the game is clearly fun and educational (in that it highlights the dynamics of complex relationships needed to find and achieve a tipping point). But I come back to this particular thread, since I take it that this game is intended to be a serious treatment politics and group dynamics as opposed to a “tongue in cheek” casual game like a Tropico 1 for instance.

So, if the game is a serious treatment, then is something of consequence missing from the model? If so, what? (Myself, my background is computer systems NOT politics and sociology. But perhaps others have a more formal background which covers the dynamics of this game.)


interesting discussion. What is being discussed here is the seriousness by which the public punish a party which fails its manifesto commitments, and the stickiness of individuals loyalty to a party they joined or support.
Of course, there is more to it than this, but these elements at least, ARE a part of the game. What is not in there, is loyalty to a party from non members.
The game has variables that control the difficulty people find joining a party that they sued to oppose, or leaving a party they sued to be members of. These are editable in the data/data.ini file:

//if a voters happiness is below this, he will develop loyalty to the opposition VOTER_OPPOSITION_INCREASE_SYMPATHY_BELOW = 0.1 //...and his loyalty will rise by this amount each turn VOTER_OPPOSITON_SYMPATHY_GAIN = 0.1 //if a voters happiness is above this point, they will lose loyalty to the opposition VOTER_OPPOSITION_DECREASE_SYMPATHY_ABOVE = 0.15 // this amount each turn VOTER_OPPOSITON_SYMPATHY_DECAY = 0.1 //if happier than this, increase sympathy with ruling party VOTER_PLAYER_INCREASE_SYMPATHY_ABOVE = 0.9 // this amount each turn VOTER_PLAYER_SYMPATHY_GAIN = 0.1 //if less happy than this then decrease sympathy with ruling party VOTER_PLAYER_DECREASE_SYMPATHY_BELOW = 0.85 // this amount each turn VOTER_PLAYER_SYMPATHY_DECAY = 0.1 //if sympathy is above this, join the opposition VOTER_OPPOSITION_JOIN_THRESHHOLD = 0.7 //or player VOTER_PLAYER_JOIN_THRESHHOLD = 0.7 //leave if below this VOTER_OPPOSITION_LEAVE_THRESHHOLD = 0.2 //or this VOTER_PLAYER_LEAVE_THRESHHOLD = 0.2

The values in the game for this may not be very accurate in real world terms, although some balance does of course need to be made of gameplay fun vs realism. I think it (is possibly too easy to trick the voters, and the possibility of adding more complete manifestos and policy positions to stick to in a future path or sequel is very appealing.

Also the manifesto stuff is here:

//effect by which a voters approval of government is reduced if they broke their election manifesto promises. MANIFESTO_BROKEN_PENALTY = 0.2