My argument? In a polarized world, the outcome of elections in the ‘Western’ world, in and of itself, will not radically change the direction of travel. Of course, there will be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ from any election in terms of sectors and bilateral relationships. The capacity and capability of the country to respond to exogenous shocks may shift, institutions could even erode. But I think that broader or significant course-correction will be limited by the democratic process, and is even less likely when those issues are bipartisan in nature.
In practice then, multilateralism and trade cooperation may increase in the future with the appointment of ‘globalist’ governments, but the Global vs. Local and East vs. West de-liberalization of trade, setting of aggressive domestic industrial policy, and broader technology decoupling will likely continue. Even as COVID-19 continues to provide political coverage to automation decisions under Man vs. Machine, there will be increasing scrutiny on domestic workforces under current economic conditions to help address perceptions of ‘rigged capitalism’, while Global vs. Local policies may continue to encourage domestic onshoring where feasible. Or whilst the balance of issues may shift pending campaign priorities (for example, between digital services taxes, data protection, and antitrust investigations), digital business models and large platform companies will likely continue to face regulatory challenges and political scrutiny in line with Protection vs. Performance.
For some, this will be a good thing - for others, this will represent another failure of the system. But either way, it makes policy more predictable than perhaps you might think.