Did Trump literally just game the New York Times into printing his tax returns?

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.

Whether it was Trump himself who did it or someone in his camp, there are “tells” to indicate that someone is employing game theory on the New York Times and Hillary Clinton over the “leaking” of Trump’s taxes. If so, it’s no wonder Hillary and the mainstream media keep losing. They’re using political gimmicks; Trump is using hardcore math.

Despite its benign sounding name, game theory can involve some complex math. John Nash (the subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind) won a Nobel Prize for his Nash equilibrium theory. But in its simple form, game theory is about determining your competitor’s likely “best move” when compared against one’s own “best moves”—and the gains or losses of each move weighted against the other outcomes. Just like in card games, which is where the theories and math have their origin.

But what are the tells that indicate game theory is being used?

Game theory would explain why it was “leaked” in the first place. Simple weighting would show a near certainty the Times would run the story—especially since the executive editor said he’d be willing to break the law to run the story.

Second, if this happened, then game theory would also test the potential outcomes of doing so. Yes, it would mean exposing himself to ridicule as the vaunted businessman stumbled, but it also would allow him to quickly shift the narrative. Yes, he lost a huge amount of money. But that was 20 years ago. Look at how he rebuilt things. He rebuilt relationships— with his financial backers, his employees, his suppliers. And he emerged bigger and better.

Can’t you hear it? “My situation 20 years ago is where America is today. I brought my company back from the brink. I can bring AMERICA back from the brink.” Boom! Thank you, New York Times!

Here’s the biggest tell: The New York Times just exposed itself to lawsuits to run a story about his billion-dollar loss, which anyone who watched The Apprentice already knew about in the first minute of the first episode of the first show. Take a listen:

The next biggest tell: the loss occurred in 1995 but by 1997, Trump had already written Trump: the Art of the Comeback. As if that’s not enough, in 2008 he then wrote, Trump Never Give Up: How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into Success. Any reporter should know that. But game theory would reveal your opponent is so focused on “the kill” that they will miss the pit into which they are about to rush. And that’s the art in the science of game theory: knowing how to weight your opponents’ perceptions of the likely outcomes.

What do you think? Brilliantly calculated move or just another day in Political Crazyville 2016?


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Mark Anderson


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