4 Trends Affected by the 2020 US Elections and How Organisations Can Prepare for the Anticipated Shifts

Ranging from COVID-19 to global trade, climate policies and societal structures, the election outcome will influence the future operational landscapes in many industries.

November 18, 2020, Gökce Sandal

The new presidential term in the US will have structural, long-lasting impacts on the global system, potentially shifting organisational priorities and operational environments.

Our team of futurists have created an interactive foresight radar with 50+ cross-industry trends, enabling teams to see the interconnections between different phenomena and collaboratively assess the implications of the election outcome from their organisation’s point of view.

From an organisational perspective, times of change like this one can be both threatening and liberating. To help organisations understand the key anticipated shifts, discover new opportunities and manage risks; Futures Platform’s futurists have created a foresight radar featuring 50+ cross-industry trends that will be impacted by the 2020 US Elections outcome. In this blog post, we highlight four of these trends.

Start a free trial to access the ‘Trends Affected by the US Elections’ radar where you can select the most relevant trends for your organisation and use the collaboration functions to assess their implications together with your team.

Trends Affected by the US 2020 Elections - foresight radar



Wealth inequality is reaching highest levels in decades


The sharpening wealth inequality around the world is affected by a multitude of issues, including tax legislation, stock and housing markets, education, and regional resources; and the threat of future technological unemployment is expected to further concentrate wealth on the hands of the few.

Similarly, the US is reaching the highest gap in income inequality in more than 50 years, which is partly a result of the 2017 tax cuts introduced during Donald Trump’s term.

Wealth Inequality in the US deepened during Trump's term
The highest-earning 20% of families made more than half of all U.S. income in 2018
(Source: Pew Research Center)


Joe Biden, on the other hand, stated that he aims to reverse some of the tax cuts of the Trump-era, significantly raise tax rates for corporations, introduce more comprehensive health insurances, and tackle racial and socioeconomic disparities among the population.

Thus, provided that Biden follows through with these plans, the next four years in the US may have new implications for social mobility. This may, in turn, increase the popularity of more social-justice-oriented policies both within the US and also around the world; potentially resulting in new customer behaviours and expectations for organisations to respond to.


Political polarisation may further isolate social bubbles


The 2020 presidential elections were, above all, marked by a deep political divide and polarisation. While Biden’s win is widely interpreted as the triumph of the more progressive, socialist and globalist values, Trump’s defeat has raised questions on whether this is the beginning of an end for populism.

However, the voting data signal rather the opposite: With both candidates breaking the records for most votes ever cast for a US presidential candidate, Donald Trump has, in fact, received more votes than he did in 2016. This is reflective of the rising voter-age population in the US, but it also suggests that the political camps are increasingly being concentrated on the two ends of the spectrum and that this kind of divisive style of politics is still viable.


Voters differ over economy, healthcare, and coronavirus
The 2020 Presidential Election further highlighted the deep-seated division among voters.
(Source: Pew Research Center)

While it is likely that the US will move away from the polarising populistic rhetoric of ‘us vs. them’ and play a more proactive international role in promoting shared values during Biden’s presidency, political polarisation is still here to stay. From a policy perspective, for example, this could mean increased future emphases on regulations surrounding fake news, social media algorithms and moderation.


The dynamics of global supply chains might change in the long run


With the US imposing tariffs to China and many other countries all around the world, including long-term allies like Europe and Canada, global trade took a downturn during the Trump administration.

Biden is expected to pursue a more predictable trade policy and restore economic relations with allies. However, as the global economy recovers from the pandemic and the tensions between China and the US remain in place, national security of supply will likely continue to become more important globally.

As countries around the world increasingly invest in domestic production of the critical goods and place greater emphasis on economic resilience, globalisation may take a downturn in the long run, urging organisations to readapt to the changing dynamics in global supply chains.


Geopolitical competition tightens as power dynamics continue to shift


Being the leading superpower, the United States’ decisions and its level of international engagement always affect international policies and geopolitical power dynamics. However, while Europe, China and Russia all seek to become more independent of the US, the position of the US as the global hegemon is gradually coming to an end.

The new presidential term in the US may, however, alter the development of this trend to a certain extent as Biden will likely re-energise international relations and re-commit to international engagements, such as the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organisation.


Thus, if the US continues its traditional role as the proactive global leader during Biden’s presidency, this may resolve geopolitical tensions to some extent and restore international cooperation, particularly when it comes to solving global challenges such as climate change.

From an organisational perspective, this may mean more public-private incentives and greater global private-sector cooperation in solving the world’s most pressing problems, potentially leading to new forms of transnational alliances and increasing the importance of corporate responsibility and impact investments.

Would you like to see the industry-specific impacts these trends may have on your organisation’s future operations? Start a free trial of Futures Platform’s digital solution and access a database of 700+ trends curated and continuously updated by leading futurists. All subscriptions include tailored support and consultation by foresight experts.


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