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voting, dynamics of political candidates, saddle-node bifurcation


Applied Mathematics | Ordinary Differential Equations and Applied Dynamics | Science and Mathematics Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This paper presents mathematics relevant to the question whether voting should be mandatory. Assuming a static distribution of voters’ political beliefs, we model how politicians might adjust their positions to raise their share of the vote. Various scenarios can be explored using our app at https: //centrism.streamlit.app/. Abstentions are found to have great impact on the dynamics of candidates, and in particular to introduce the possibility of discontinuous jumps in optimal candidate positions. This is an unusual application of ODEs. We hope that it might help engage some students who may find it harder to connect with the more customary applications from the natural sciences.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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