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In the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump lost in America’s largest cities by a substantial margin. But he was carried to the White House by the rest of the country.

Gideon Rachman argues in his column this week that the urban-rural divide has become one of the most significant political cleavages of the age — and not just in the US, either. The pattern, Gideon argues, can be discerned around the world, in developing and developed countries alike.

In nations such as Turkey and Thailand, just as in the US, UK and Europe, there is a stark divide between highly educated urban liberals and provincial voters susceptible to the siren songs of populism and nationalism. Political parties everywhere grapple with the perhaps insuperable challenge of bridging that chasm.

Robert Shrimsley argues that the controversy over the Labour party’s abandonment of the internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism tells us something important about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. That Mr Corbyn was willing to provoke an unnecessary confrontation with Jewish Labour members shows that he is willing to put his foreign policy beliefs before the interests of party unity.

Cathy O’Neil welcomes the apparent readiness of EU policymakers to embrace the auditing of algorithms as a way of mitigating the risks of artificial intelligence.

Huw van Steenis argues that the managers of index funds and ETFs are starting to vote far more frequently with activist and engaged investors.

What you’ve been saying

Myth of Britain’s ‘lone stance’ against fascism — letter from Geoff Renyard:

That “Britain was alone in fighting fascism in 1939-40” is a frequently repeated myth . . . In 1939 Britain was a global superpower controlling numerous crown colonies, protectorates and the Indian Empire. It also maintained unique political ties to the five legislatively independent dominions of Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the Irish Free State. In 1939 New Zealand declared war on September 3 after Britain, the Union of South Africa declared war on September 6 after a contentious debate on possible neutrality and a change of government, Canada declared war on September 10 following a parliamentary debate that authorised the declaration, and the Irish Free State chose to remain neutral. The Australian government took the view that, since Australia had not formally adopted the 1931 Statute of Westminster, it was legally bound by the British declaration of war.

Comment by Paul A Myers on Business should listen to America’s new left:

Prospects for a Congressional Democratic party majority rest on winning swing districts, which rest on the Democrats re-discovering the art of local politics. Health care is a great issue but Democrats would be wise to pitch a “big tent” approach that will have appeal in suburban middle class districts where “single payer” and “Medicare for all” can be used by Republican attack ads to turn off swing voters. In contrast, voters support basic provisioning of health care to all by widening coverage and in particular respond to health care security. In short, Democrats should stress the “security” dimension of all social programmes and resolutely stay away from “socialism” aspect. In general bringing up European social democracy is a loser, but if it is to be used as a model, then the emphasis should be on European-style “security” that is desired, not European-style “socialism.”

West must respond to China’s rise together — letter from Dr Eric Golson and Edward Longinotti:

Donald Trump’s brand of populism is so successful because he is half right — to date, the west has underestimated the future threat posed by China — but he has also misprescribed the destruction of the current system of global multilateral institutions as the cure for this. These institutions are not, as President Trump mistakenly believes, facilitating the transfer of jobs to China. Rather, they are key in bringing the west together to collectively bargain with China from a position of strength.

Today’s opinion

FT Alphaville: Regulating European securitisation, after the crisis

The lopsided march of active and passive investors
Companies should look out for ETFs working with others to become engaged investors

Labour’s anti-Semitism row offers a deeper truth about Corbyn
The party leadership will sacrifice unity for the sake of its hardline ideals

Audit the algorithms that are ruling our lives
Governments should follow France and move towards algorithmic accountability

Urban-rural splits have become the great global divider
A political phenomenon is pitting metropolitan elites against small-town populists

Indians sound alarm over ‘Orwellian’ data collection system
Narendra Modi’s government is attempting to gather ‘all digital media chatter’

Instant Insight: The whole world is watching Zimbabwe’s election
Mugabe’s successor must show observers at home and abroad that he can win fairly

Europe’s Growth Champion, by Marcin Piatkowski
A lucid account of Poland’s transformation from communism

FT View

The FT View: Cambodia’s democratic charade and Asia’s future
The cause of political freedom in south-east Asia is not yet lost

The FT View: A necessary overhaul to protect British elections
Electoral laws need to be toughened to suit the social media age

The Big Read

The Big Read: Regional lenders: China’s most dangerous banks
In the second part of an FT series, Gabriel Wildau and Yizhen Jia explain how reliance on short-term funding and exposure to the industrial economy have put some lenders at risk

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