Politics in 2016: Americans Don’t Believe Their Vote Matters

By A.T. Kearney, Special for  USDR

On July 4, 2026, when America celebrates its 250th birthday, will the American dream live on? Or are we headed toward a future in which Americans believe their best days are behind them? In the newly released America@250 Report, A.T. Kearney research envisions four very different futures America might experience in the next 10  years:

  • So Gallantly Streaming: A bright future of bipartisan shared purpose, technological advances and a vibrant, diversified economy;
  • Twilight’s Last Gleaming: A dark future, marked by political polarization, low economic growth, infrastructure degradation, declining education and healthcare, and a decline in global competitiveness;
  • The Perilous Fight: A mixed future, where the American economy is fueled by technological innovation and strong overall growth, but widening income inequality and scarcity of opportunity divide American society; and
  • Dawn’s Early Light: Millennials reshape American public policy, slashing defense spending and increasing investments in education and social services, but pursue a less materialistic American dream, slowing economic growth

A recent America@250 nationwide survey of  Americans suggests that a majority of Americans are prepared to push toward the optimistic “So Gallantly Streaming” future in 2026, as 93 percent acknowledge the need to invest in education and infrastructure; 89 percent believe the United States must continue providing global leadership; and a solid 70 percent say that they are willing to compromise and sacrifice to make life better for future generations. Yet many Americans doubt they are getting the leadership they deserve. The same poll found that roughly half of Americans believe that their vote doesn’t matter, due to the negative political  environment.

Drawing from A.T. Kearney’s extensive primary and secondary research, the America@250 Report explores critical drivers likely to alter the trajectory of the United States over the next 10 years,  including:

  • The attitudes and actions of the Millennial generation, the largest American generational cohort;
  • The pace and broader economic implications of technological innovation; and
  • The political, military, and economic contours of the global landscape in which the United States must operate.

“The challenges of inequality and income stratification loom large for Republicans, Democrats, and political independents alike, and social strains have been magnified by a divisive 2016 presidential election campaign,” said Paul A. Laudicina, report co-author and chairman of A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council. “America is undeniably at a crossroads. Our hope is that the America@250 initiative will help push our thinking beyond the November  election.”

“The actions taken today by policy makers, business leaders, and citizens will shape America as the country approaches its 250th birthday,” said Daniel Mahler, report co-author, A.T. Kearney partner and head of Americas. “This rigorous and expansive study is of vital importance to anyone thinking about their long-term strategy for success in the United  States.”

To further facilitate a nationwide conversation, A.T. Kearney launched an online hub created with its partner WSJ Custom Studios, is convening a series of live events for   C-level business leaders, conducts national surveys with its data and solutions partner The NPD Group, and invites contributions from a range of thought leaders, including CEO of the Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent, President of the Business Roundtable and former Governor of Michigan John Engler, and technology futurist Vivek  Wadhwa.

The full report findings and additional content are available at  www.atkearney.com/america250.

About A.T.  Kearney

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world’s foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit  www.atkearney.com.

SOURCE A.T.  Kearney

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