Modeling Political Conflict Dynamics In a Two-Party System

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



A nonlinear dynamic model is constructed for the purpose of exploring the interaction between two conflicting political parties attempting to capture a share of the independent vote and prevail in elections or decisions. Party members influence the decisions to collaborate or not, either through their insistence on remaining polarized in the name of the party’s purity or by making moves toward the political center that may concede some points in the interest of ending stalemates. The model allows exploration of the evolution in time of outcomes of such political confrontations – a joint (legislative or allocative) decision or continued conflict. We focus on the example of American two-party politics as party members contend with a sizeable proportion of the electorate that is unaffiliated (independent) and “up for grabs” through persuasive arguments of either party. Many contextual factors affecting the conflict episodes are captured in the arguments that people utilize to persuade their peers to either toe the party line or move to the center to enable joint decision making. Recent protracted political confrontations and the ensuing stalemate over decisions having to be made in a timely manner (such as federal budgets) drive interest in this area of conflict where both parties could benefit from a tool for exploring various likely scenarios, to prepare strategies for resolution.


Paper Presented at the 24rd Annual International Association of Conflict Management Conference Istanbul, Turkey July 3 – 6, 2011.

Original Citation

Kaufman, Sanda and Kaufman, Miron, Modeling Political Conflict Dynamics In a Two-Party System. IACM 24th Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1864151 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1864151



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