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The Framework (And Strategy) Of Left-Center-Right Politics

The framework in A Spy’s Guide To Strategy is a powerful tool. It’s useful for simplifying complex strategic situations. So you can make decisions. So you can take action.

It can even simplify one of the more complex situations in the modern world:


Especially, Left-Center-Right politics.

First, we look forward. All the way to the Endgame.

There are three possible Endgames of Left-Center-Right politics:

The Left takes the leadership role.

The Center takes the leadership role.

The Right takes the leadership role.

One of the three wins the leadership role. The others end up below it. One wrinkle to note: If the Left wins, the Center is second place and the Right is third place. If the Right wins, the Center is again second place and the Left goes to third place. If the Center wins, the Left and Right share second place.

The Center always ends up in either first or second place. The Left and Right always end up in first or third place.

The three Endgames of Left-Center-Right politics look like this:

Reasoning backward, the winning Endgame is decided by the Zero-Sum Game of election.

Every election looks like this:

You win an election when you get 50% +1 of something. Usually, it’s 50%+1 of direct votes. In some elections, like the U.S. Presidential election, you win 50%+1 of votes by delegates in a group like the Electoral College.

How do you get 50%+1 of the votes? You form the biggest alliance going into the election. You get everyone in your alliance to vote for your leadership.

People on the Left, Center, and Right form alliances.

It looks like this:

Before every election, there’s a big question: How big and strong are these alliances at the bottom?

How many people are in the Left alliance? How many people are in the Right alliance? How many people are in the Center?

In the U.S., billions of dollars are spent on polling and data analysis to figure out the answers. Everyone wants to know who is Left, Center, and Right.

Usually, you find most Americans are in the Center. They’re in the Center because things about both Right and Left alienate them. Or because something attracts them from both Right and Left. Or because they don’t care about politics. Which means they resist being part of Left or Right. They don’t like to be pigeonholed. Some don’t even like being called “Center.” Which means people in the Center resist organizing.

And that’s a problem, if you're in the Center.

In an alliance, organization is important. Organization means people know their roles. Organization means people follow orders. Organization means people remember to vote. Organization means people are available on Election Day to drive voters to the polls. Organization means an alliance’s power is magnified.

Organization is a weakness of the Center.

People on the Left and Right understand the power of organization. They’re passionate. They’re results-oriented. People on the Left and Right organize themselves, invest billions in finding like-minded voters, and spend time and resources to help their side win. So they end up in first place. Also, so they don’t end up in third place.

Which means the passionate Left and Right put a lot of time, effort and resources into the process. Like most games, whoever puts the most time, effort and resources into winning usually wins.

Which means the Center often loses. But the Center never loses too badly. The worst they do is second place.

When you look at strategy through the framework in A Spy’s Guide To Strategy, insights pop out.

The most important is this: Everyone uses Positive-Sum Games of alliance to win Zero-Sum Games so they can get to the Endgame they want.

Once you understand the games being played, you can make decisions. You can take action.

You can design a good strategy.

Maybe, you can change the world.


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