Naval Ravikant would call politics a status game. By definition, when only one person can win, it’s advantageous to knock down your opponents.
Listening to the Throughline episode about Mitch McConnell exemplifies this notion perfectly. As a long shot for a senate seat in Kentucky’s 1984 election, his team sought out a way to tarnish the reputation of the other candidate. This is an intuitive way to win a zero sum game, but not a productive way to move forward dialogue.
Herein lies the danger of zero sum games. The incentive to destroy is as strong as the incentive to build. Negative actions are easier, lazier and less productive, but they help people win.
Episode link: https://www.breaker.audio/throughline/e/47597598