Is America becoming a four-party state?

Think about it. Ever since World War II until the early 21st century, the major political parties in the West were all built on a set of stable binary choices: capital versus labor; big government/high regulation versus small government/low regulation; open to trade and immigration versus more closed to trade and immigration; embracing of new social norms, like gay rights or abortion, and opposed to them; and green versus growth.

Across the industrial world parties mostly formed along one set of those binary choices or the other. But that is no longer possible.

What if I am a steelworker in Pittsburgh and in the union, but on weekends I drive for Uber and rent out my kid’s spare bedroom on Airbnb — and shop at Walmart for the cheapest Chinese imports, and what I can’t find there I buy on Amazon through a chatbot that replaced a human? Monday to Friday I’m with labor. Saturday and Sunday I’m with capital.

My point? Many of the old binary choices simply do not line up with the challenges to workers, communities and companies in this age of accelerating globalization, technology and climate change, but national governments are so paralyzed by partisanship that they can’t adapt.

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