Monthly Archives: July 2016

Order and Openness


brexit_demographics2Brexit and Trump are forcing the US and Britain to re-think their political groupings because those phenomena don’t fit nicely into the red-state blue-state model, at least the way it has been used for the last few decades.

Eric Kaufmann takes the conversation about political groupings down a level to individual value systems as a way to re-shape our traditional groupings — in particular he talks about an “order” mentality vs. an “open-ness” mentality as a neutral way to think about the core divide. Of course this is just semantic tinkering with the values that underlie the Whig/Torry Democrat/Republican Liberal/Conservative divisions that have existed forever.

But this tinkering is goodness and understanding how attitudes toward disciplining children, family structure, national security, etc. map to the larger groupings clearly helps make sense of the motivational landscape.

I especially like the 3-part model Eric refers to from a consultancy that does “values consulting” (it’s a thing!) — the model identifies Pioneers, Settlers, and Prospectors as key demographic types (click on the embedded picture above — and read the “Pat Dade..” graf in Eric’s article for more detail).

It explains to me how a second generation Parkistani business-owner from a nice suburb of London — who on the surface based on ethnic and geo and class markers might not look like a Brexiter — could still vote for Brexit based on a cluster of values around finances, safety and patriarchy.

Or how a Harvard-educated ex-mayor from Wisconsin can be a Trump supporter based on deep skepticism of the current political system and an admiration for a business approach.

This all just looks like the segmentation the Obama campaigns have been doing for the last decade to target messages to voters. Or the work good digital marketers do every day to sell stuff.