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Economy

Trumpism and America's Dual Economy

So far, the president-elect’s policy priorities appear to be setting the stage for class and racial divides to grow ever deeper.
President-elect Donald Trump talks with workers during a visit to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis, Indiana.
President-elect Donald Trump talks with workers during a visit to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis, Indiana.Evan Vucci/AP

A political earthquake might be the most apt metaphor for the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Not only because the result was unexpected and rattling, but because the deep divisions of class and race that influenced it resemble the realigning of tectonic plates—slow shifts that eventually produce a tremendous release of energy along well-established fault lines.

The dynamics of these underlying fault lines in American life are presciently detailed in the work of the MIT economic historian Peter Temin, who has documented the rise of America’s “Dual Economy.” (Temin is developing his original essay into a book on The Vanishing Middle Class, to be published this coming March by MIT Press.)