Maybe you haven’t heard of Amazon HQ 2, but it’s a big deal. Amazon is currently choosing from a slate of 20 finalist cities. The winner will have Amazon’s second headquarters built in it, which according to the company will create 50,000 jobs.

That’s a recipe for an economic boom. That’s a lot of people moving into the area and buying houses, spending money at local retail outlets, not to mention the taxes that those people will pay. While the second headquarters will eventually itself be taxed, any serious contender for the business will have to offer up some sort of tax incentives that will result in lower revenues for the city and state for a number of years.

Despite this, it’s a deal that will bring billions of dollars to the area. If you’re a city that has a chance at landing this deal, you can’t afford to not take a stab at Amazon. It’s a no-brainer.

Unless, of course, you really might not want Amazon to move into your city.

There might be a few economic downsides. In all likelihood, bringing 50,000 jobs to an area, any area, will require people moving into the area. There’s no firm way to know what percentage of new hires will already live in the area.

If we imagine it’s low, say, 10%, then we’re looking at 5,000 people who need places to live. At the ridiculously-high end, say 50%, then that number is 25,000 people. Either way, you’re going to send local home and apartment prices up dramatically. You’re going to have to be willing to bite that bullet.

While we’re talking about people moving into the area, we need to address culture.

Amazon is based in Seattle.

In recent elections, more than 84% of the electorate voted Democrat in Seattle.

Which, makes it hard to find comparable areas elsewhere in the U.S. Here’s what 18 of the 20 finalists look like:

city R D
Washington, D.C. 4.1 90.9
Philadelphia 15.5 82.4
Boston 16.5 79.5
Newark 20 76.2
Chicago 20.02 74.75
Montgomery County 19.7 74.51
New York 22.90 74.18
Denver 18.89 73.69
Los Angeles 22.41 71.76
Atlanta 27.1 69.2
Austin 27.44 65.77
Miami 34.1 63.7
Dallas 34.64 60.75
Columbus 33.93 59.78
Nashville 33.95 59.77
Indianapolis 35.97 58.75
Raleigh 37.9 58.4
Pittsburgh 40 56.4

What’s interesting about this list is that 12 of the cities have a greater than 10% difference in voting patterns. While some of the cities on the list, such as Boston, Chicago, or Denver might feel just like home to a branch of Amazon, you have to wonder how cities like Dallas, Nashville, or Raleigh would respond to an influx of far-left politics.

Again, we don’t know how many of the jobs would go to locals and how many would go to imports with a different political view. But, imagine for a moment that all 50,000 jobs were imported and that each person with a job was married, and that 100% were Democrats, that’s 100,000 votes entering an area, enough to dominate local politics for decades.

That’s not a realistic scenario, but it’s something you should at least consider before inviting Amazon HQ 2 to your city.

Keep in mind that Amazon supports a number of far-left organizations and that the founder and C.E.O., Jeff Bezos tends to support leftwing causes,  and owns the Washington Post, which is at best a center-left organization.

Again, I’m probably overstating the scale of the potential problem here, but I’d rather overstate it as I don’t see it being discussed anywhere.

But even if you don’t have any objection to the potential political or social ramifications, I have one more thing that needs to be addressed.

Amazon is a horrible place to work.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this article from the New York Times, which details a company culture that seems to revolve around stress, pressure, and employees constantly belittling each other for the sake of the company. It sounds fake, trust me, I know, but it’s all there in the article.

“At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others.”

That doesn’t sound like fun at all.2

And it’s not limited to Amazon’s corporate workers, either. One employee told an undercover journalist that “[p]eople just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.”

We don’t know for sure that Amazon HQ 2 would be like this, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that the upper management for the new branch will come from the Seattle headquarters, where they’ve experienced it personally. Why wouldn’t they try to replicate what apparently works?

That’s not something I would want to bring to my city. Personally, I can’t see the company doing well in places that are more laid-back. While Austin, for instance, might be more aligned politically than other cities on this list, it’s not a great fit when it comes to lifestyle for Amazon HQ 2.

So, I guess what I’m doing here is throwing an ounce of caution into a sea of nearly-unlimited optimism. The dollar signs are so big in this instance that maybe people aren’t looking at all relevant factors.

On the other hand, I’ve heard speculation that Amazon has already picked out the city that it wants to put its second headquarters in, it’s just using the open competition as a way to get a better deal from that place. In which case it’s more than possible that they’ve thought through these questions and come up with a good answer, and all of my fretting about where Amazon HQ 2 will end up is for naught.

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  1. All numbers are for the county the city is located in if it’s a city. Toronto is left out because it’s Canadian, and I’m not sure how to get an apples-to-apples comparison. Likewise, Northern Virginia is left off because it’s unclear exactly what area should be studied. New York’s number is the average of the 5 boroughs.
  2. An early reader commented: “[T]hat’s putting it lightly, it sounds like an Industrial Orwellian Nightmare.” Which is coincidentally the name of my new post-punk band.