The US populace is becoming increasingly polarised politically, with implications for the outcome of the presidential election and after, says Daniel Malachuk.

In 2008, a book by Bill Bishop called The Big Sort documented the polarisation of US society. Its thesis may be instructive for interpreting this year’s elections. Hillary Clinton famously referred to half of Donald Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables”. Mr Trump has done some name-calling as well.

The Big Sort maintained that there are in fact just a few 'baskets' – not using that term, but describing how birds of a feather are increasingly flocking together. The flocking goes beyond the red state/blue state level and in fact is more apparent between neighbourhoods. The most highly contested states are those where the flocks, while physically separate, are roughly equal in size.

When The Big Sort took policy analysts by storm eight years ago, social media was just beginning to come into its own. Now, in addition to geographic clustering, we have virtual clustering. This spreads and reinforces what the president referred to as the US having people who appear to be living in different countries, depending on their news sources. They are in different feedback loops that reinforce their different world-views.

Pundits make the claim in every election cycle, but for investors it does seem that much may turn on this election and its aftermath, including changes in business taxation, regulation and workforce immigration. And the losing side will remain significant and will not retreat, despite some celebrity promises to move to Canada or beyond.

Polarisation has become institutionalised by cash contributions, peer and media intimidation, and even by direct and indirect public funding. After November 8, there are two things for direct investors to watch out for. First, whether the momentum for tax and trade changes is sustained and whose version is ascending; and second, in the last two months, a spurt of unencumbered legacy-building through regulatory and other executive actions from the White House.

Daniel Malachuk works with business and government leaders on global direct investment strategies. He has advised many of the world’s leading companies and served in the public sector as director of White House operations.


This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
fDi Magazine

Global greenfield investment trends

Crossborder investment monitor

fDi Markets is the only online database tracking crossborder greenfield investment covering all sectors and countries worldwide. It provides real-time monitoring of investment projects, capital investment and job creation with powerful tools to track and profile companies investing overseas.

Click here to find out more about fDi Markets

Corporate location benchmarking tool

fDi Benchmark is the only online tool to benchmark the competitiveness of countries and cities in over 50 sectors. Its comprehensive location data series covers the main cost and quality competitiveness indicators for over 300 locations around the world.

Click here to find out more about fDi Benchmark

Research report

fDi Intelligence provides customised reports and data research which deliver vital business intelligence to corporations, investment promotion agencies, economic development organisations, consulting firms and research institutions.

Find out more.