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.
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 regular chess.
What is 4D chess in U.S. politics?
4D chess means “what looks to you and everyone else like a stupid mistake is 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, based initially on 3D chess from Star Trek. The idea is that people accuse President Trump of doing childish, foolish things that even his 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 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 to accomplish all his goals and astound 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 generalization to 4-D Chess, but don’t expect to get anything very intuitive.
The exact 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. However, there are other ways to generalize 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 straightforward example to illustrate a game, then apply it to legislation. For example, 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 is $50 million. If they both have a lot of fat, their earnings are $30 million due to a lower price. If one produces a lot and the other a little, the one with a lot will earn $55 million and $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 collide 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 simultaneously. Cartels exist, but this is a simple, first-day-of-class kind of example. When the games get more complex and realistic, these things are accounted for.
In politics, a prominent 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.
However, the Republicans from safe districts 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?
Mainly because a majority of the country is progressing into the future, and a minority of the country is stuck 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, and 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 the 2019 analysis by Manifesto Project, not compiled yet — all of those lower-left parties received two-thirds of the vote. The Conservatives became 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 espousing ‘traditional morality. It doesn’t register for Canadian parties, except for one. Guess which one. The USA. Note that Democratic Party policies trended to neutral, not negative. Where did the Republicans go?
These are the axes of environmental protection. 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.
Graph by graph between countries shows the same pattern. Most of the population keeps up. The aging minority lags and hates it.
There is a global trend. A handful of people miss the 1950s, as seen through the prism of reruns of old American TV shows from the 1980s. When white Christian men had all the power and influence, women did as they were told, and blacks and homosexuals were mocked if they ever showed up.
Chess as a Measure of Cognitive Ability
Chess requires foresight and planning, and scientific studies have shown that a player’s skill at chess is more significant when they measure higher on tests to show processing speed, planning, memory, and problem-solving.
This means that if someone is good at chess, they are intellectually agile. In traditional terms, we can say that the better someone plays chess, the more intelligent they are.
Of course, someone with high chess skills will do better in a match against someone who is not. These studies show that this is a quick leap from chess as an indicator of intelligence to the fundamental meaning of “play 4D chess.”
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 that was not well known before and therefore make her point that the US could not vet refugees from terrorists.
Another frequently covered 4D move is Melania’s “plagiarised” speech, resulting in free coverage of the whole lesson.
Is 4D chess real or just a myth?
Most experts believe 4D chess is just a theoretical metaphor and exaggerates the foresight of political strategists. True long-term strategic thinking is limited in real politics.
Who is said to play 4D chess in politics?
Supporters of leaders like former President Trump and President Obama have accused them of playing 4D chess in their political schemes. However, its use is subjective.
Conclusion: What is 4D chess in U.S. politics?
2D chess is what chess players play. 3D chess possibly has an 8X8X8 cube where the queen can move in 22 directions and the rook in 6 tips.
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 video of a man named John Miller introducing himself as a publicist speaking on behalf of Donald Trump in a telephone interview conducted by People Magazine reporter Sue Carswell in 1990.
Many have speculated that the man in the video is Trump posing as a fictional publicist.
On May 13, Fox News host Megyn Kelly discussed the tape with Carswell, who refused to donate the recording to The Washington Post and suggested that Trump release the video himself to gain publicity.
The Fox News segment was posted in a thread on / eng /, where the poster commented, “Damn the fuck, he’s playing 4d chess on a 3d chess board against people playing 2d chess.”
Soon after, a screenshot from the post found its way to the main page of the subreddit / r / The_Donald, gaining over 4,400 votes (80% of the vote) and 400 comments within 72 hours.
On May 14, 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 26, a two-panel image comparing Hillary Clinton playing tic-tac-toe with Trump playing on three stacked chessboards was sent to / r / The_Donald. Over the next two months, the post received over 3,900 votes (80% of the voters voted down) 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 don’t see other pieces and moves, so they fall flat on their faces.
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