by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
… [T]he new congressional map once again showed a nation divided between urban coasts and a more rural heartland. As the map filled in, it was hard not to think about Amazon.com ’s decision, reported on Monday, to split its new HQ2 between New York City and Northern Virginia. …
… Amazon’s heavily-touted HQ2 search was ultimately as predictable as the election map. That’s an opportunity lost. With 50,000 HQ2 employees and a big budget, Amazon had a unique chance to redraw the map and perhaps change the tenor of debate. Among the other cities under consideration by Amazon were Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Nashville, Tenn., Dallas and Austin, Tx., Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta.
With any of those cities, one could imagine an Amazon conference call in which Seattle employees were challenged and enriched by colleagues from different backgrounds. Instead, Amazon will be connecting West Coast blue staters to like-minded East Coasters.
This is not just about nation-building. The risk for shareholders is that Amazon accelerates the groupthink that threatens big companies. As originally explained —“a full equal to our current campus in Seattle”—HQ2 seemed like another disruptive Amazon idea. Now it feels uninspired. That’s not a word Amazon is used to hearing.