What is 4D chess in U.S. politics?
‘4d chess’ is a shorthand gag term for the idea that someone is so super-clever in their political moves that they can make a tiny, inoffensive move here, another over there, and it will have ramifications.
That no one except someone so brilliant could see in other places, and before you know it his enemies are outflanked and outgunned and helpless before his skill.
If you recall your Star Trek, they used to play a version of chess called ‘3D Chess’ on three vertical boards of chess all of which could affect one another with arcane rules.
To win you’d have to have an incredible ability to see moves in the future and predict your opponent in a ‘world’ with far more possibilities than normal chess.
What is 4D chess in U.S. politics?
4D chess basically means “what looks to you and everyone else like a stupid mistake is really, secretly a calculated, genius move that you’re too unintelligent to comprehend, unlike me”.
It’s almost always used in the negative sense. “Trump isn’t playing 4D chess here, he really is that dumb”.
It’s a recent term, I think originally based on 3D chess from Star Trek. The idea is that people accuse President Trump of doing ignorant, foolish things that even his own die hard supporters can’t make heads or tails of.
And instead of saying “yeah, that was dumb”, his supporters construct these elaborate, complex justifications that basically say “yeah, Trump wants you to think he did foolish thing number 547.
But actually he’s a genius, because that foolish mistake will cause X, Y and Z, accomplishing all his goals and astounding everyone who isn’t a DemocRat libtard”.
What would a 4D chess look like?
Regular Chess is 2-D, so first consider what 3-D Chess would look like, and then apply the generalisation to 4-D Chess, but don’t expect to get anything very intuitive.
The same process applied to a square (2-D) to get a cube (3-D) gives insight to a tesseract (4-D) but not that much intuition ⌢¨
A tessellated tesseract would, presumably, be the 8×8×8×8 playing field for 4-D chess where two opposite faces (cubes) might contain 2×83=1024 pieces including 512 Pawns, although there are other ways to generalise the 2-D Chess layout.
What can game theory teach us about U.S. politics?
Game theory is an analysis tool, modeling how individual incentives of different actors combine to create – in a sense – predictable outcomes.
I’ll use a very simple example to illustrate a game, then apply it to legislation. For example, let’s say there’s an attempted oil cartel by Iran and Iraq (the only two oil producers in this world).
If they both produce a little oil, each of their profits are $50 million. If they both produce a lot of oil, each of their profits are $30 million, due to a lower price. If one produces a lot and the other a little, the one that produces a lot will earn $55 million and the other $25 million.
Since no matter what the other does, each actor’s dominant strategy is to produce a high level of oil instead of low, the production will remain at high, high, and they will each make $30 million.
While the collective best action is for both to collude and produce low, the individual incentives create this sub-optimal outcome for the producers.
This is a simultaneous game, as both actors make their decisions at the same time. Obviously cartels exist, but this is a simple, first day of class kind of example. When the games get more complex and realistic, these types of things are accounted for.
In politics, a very visible example is the House Republican Conference. Setting aside ideology for a moment, let’s say everyone agrees the best possible outcome is for the Democrats and Republicans to work together.
The Republicans from safe districts, however, know that they have to face reelection in a primary campaign. This is a sequential game. The Republicans in the House have to “move” (make their action) first, while anticipating the later “move” of their primary challenger.
Since they know compromising with Democrats will raise the probability of their challenger raising more funds, campaigning harder, and being able to capture voters, they are forced to recognize this when making their first move, and don’t compromise, avoiding the socially optimal outcome.
Why are U.S. politics so divisive and two-sided?
Mostly because a majority of the country is progressing into the future, and a minority of the country is stuck on regressing into a mostly fictitious past.
This is Canada in the 2015 election on an aggregated right-left policies basis across all parties. Trust me, this leads back to the USA.
It’s a multi-party country, which means that every party can stake out whatever position it wants. Notice that party in the upper right hand corner trending away from all the other parties? That would be the Conservative Party of Canada.
In 2019 – analysis by Manifesto Project not compiled yet — all of those lower-left parties received two-thirds of the vote. The Conservatives continued to become more regressive and picked up a third of the vote. That was it.
This is the same chart from the USA. The Democratic Party picked up 3 million more of the popular vote with an unmotivated voter base, while the Republican Party continued steaming to the right with a highly motivated base. The 40% approval rating of Donald Trump today maps quite nicely to this.
This is Canada on espousing ‘traditional morality’. It doesn’t register for Canadian parties. Except for one. Guess which one. USA. Note that Democratic Party policies trended to neutral, not negative. Where did the Republicans go?
That’s the environmental protection axes. Note that the Democratic Party is in the same quadrant as the vast majority of Canada, while the Republicans are in the same place as the minority in Canada.
Chart after chart between countries show the same pattern. The majority of the populace is keeping up. An aging minority is falling behind and hates it.
There’s a global trend. There are a bunch of left behinds who are pining for the 1950s as seen through the lens of 1980s reruns of old US tv shows. You know, when white, Christian men had all the power and influence, women did what they were told and blacks and homose*uals were ridiculed if they showed up at all.
Does Donald Trump really play 4D chess with his political opponents as his supporters claim?
Yes, he does. Scott Adams has covered this extensively in his blog. His persuasion skills according to Scott were way ahead of the other R candidates which led him to predict a Trump victory.
A recent example was Kellyanne Conway mentioning the “non-existent” Bowling Green Massacre to justify the immigration ban.
The media went out of its way to clarify that the incident was 2 Iraqi nationals in Bowling Green attempting to provide weapons to Al Qaeda in Iraq which eventually led to them being convicted.
This 4D chess move used the media to get out the true story which was not well known before and therefore make her point that the US was not able to vet refugees from terrorists.
Another frequently covered 4D move is Melania’s “plagiarised” speech which resulted in free coverage of the whole speech.
2D chess is what chess players play. 3D chess is possibly having a 8X8X8 cube where the queen can move in 22 directions, the rook in 6 directions .
4D chess cannot be visualized, but that’s the game that the ilk of Adam Schiff plays, i.g. pieces and moves are well hidden from Congressmen outside his committee.
In May 2016, The Washington Post released a recording of a man named John Miller, who identified himself as a publicist speaking on behalf of Donald Trump in a telephone interview conducted by People magazine reporter Sue Carswell in 1990.
Many speculated that the man in the recording was actually Trump himself masquerading as a fictitious publicist.
On May 13th, Fox News host Megyn Kelly discussed the tape with Carswell, who denied giving the recording to The Washington Post and suggested Trump leaked the tape himself to generate publicity.
That day, the Fox News segment was submitted in a thread on /pol/, where a poster commented “Holy fuck he’s playing 4d chess on a 3d chessboard against people playing 2d chess”.
Shortly after, a screenshot of the post reached the front page of the /r/The_Donald subreddit, gaining over 4,400 votes (80% upvoted) and 400 comments in 72 hours.
On May 14th, Redditor Dasidesi submitted a comic titled “The Absolute Madman is Playing 4D Non-Linear Politics” to the /r/The_Donald subreddit, where it received upwards of 4,200 votes (78% upvoted) and 80 comments within two months.
On May 26th, a two-pane image comparing Hillary Clinton playing Tic-Tac-Toe to Trump playing three stacked chessboards was posted to /r/The_Donald. Over the next two months, the post gathered more than 3,900 votes (80% upvoted) and 55 comments.
See, in the basement of the US Capitol, there are secret rooms where DEM committees meet to do their secretive plots against Trump. However they themselves don’t see other pieces and moves, so far they fell flat of the faces.
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