Amid all the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 over the past six months, one thing is assured: the pandemic has re-ordered real estate markets across the board on an unprecedented scale.

Some of this may be irreversible. Real estate’s re-sorting this time isn’t just based on markets crashing (the Great Recession), political turmoil (the 1979 oil embargo), or financial speculation (the first and second dot.com busts)—after which there’s generally confidence that overall consumer demand and buyer preferences will sooner or later snap back to normal.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more deep-seeded, tectonic-sized questions beyond markets and interest rates are being asked this time around that no one really has the answers to yet—like will people feel safer living in the south and southwest where they can spend all year social distancing outside? What if companies let workers work remotely for the rest of their lives? Why go back to retail shopping when I’m already ordering everything online? What’s the point of living “downtown” if half of the restaurants, bars, and museums never open back up?

How these questions get answered will fundamentally re-order how Americans live in the “new” pandemic normal, and as a result will play a huge X-factor in which cities and states will experience growth, demand, and price appreciation over the next 3-5 years, and which ones will stagnate and lose. More broadly for large metropolises like Washington, D.C., New York City, Portland, and Philadelphia, the answers risk slowing or even reversing a wave of gentrification and wildly profitable downtown revitalization that’s been accelerating since before the Great Recession.

President Trump’s cutting back on campaign commercials in some of the key Midwestern battlegrounds that helped him win the White House four years ago – and shifting resources to a bunch of crucial swing states further south.

The president’s re-election campaign has dropped roughly $2 million in ad reservations in Michigan and Wisconsin since last month, according to Advertising Analytics , Medium Buying, and Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group , three leading ad tracking firms. Trump narrowly won the two states in 2016, breaking a quarter century long winning streak by Democrats.

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The Trump campaign is also currently dark on local TV in Ohio and Iowa, two states he convincingly flipped from blue to red four years ago. And the re-election team is chopping approximately $5 million from its fall TV budget in Minnesota, a state that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016 but that the president was targeting this year.

The Trump campaign’s moving its money south.

Pointing to what he called a “sun belt strategy,” Advertising Analytics vice president John Link told Fox News that “over the last month, the president’s moved $22 million out of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio – and its added $19.8 million to the swing states of Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign is currently running ads in the Midwestern states where the Trump campaign is cutting back. And in recent weeks the former vice president’s team has boosted its ad buys in both Iowa and Ohio, which were not considered competitive states at the beginning of the 2020 cycle.

The move by the Trump campaign comes as the Biden campaign entered September with a massive $141 million cash on

KEY POINTS

  • The New Jersey bill mandates total divestment from coal companies within two years
  • New Jersey Treasury Department, which administers the pension fund, opposes the divestment bill
  • The oil and gas sector now only accounts for about 2.5% of the market cap of the S&P 500 index

The State of New Jersey may soon order its state pension fund to divest from fossil fuels, following a long list of other state, municipal and national pension funds that have already done so.

In a recent op-ed published in the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper, Richard J. Codey (a former governor of New Jersey) and Tom Sanzillo (director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis) wrote that it is high time for the Garden State to pull out of fossil fuel investments — for both environmental and financial reasons.

New Jersey State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein, both Democrats, have sponsored the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill — Senate Bill S330 — which calls for the state pension fund to withdraw from fossil fuels.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit state pension funds from investing in any of the top 200 companies “that hold the largest carbon content fossil fuel reserves.”

The bill also mandates total divestment from coal companies within two years, and withdrawal from all other fossil fuel companies by Jan. 1, 2022.

However, the New Jersey Treasury Department, which administers the pension fund, opposes the bill, suggesting, among other things, that jettisoning energy investments would lower annual returns.

But the editorial disputed that assertion.

“The proposed legislation provides the right financial solution,” Codey and Sanzillo wrote. “Oil and gas companies once led the world economy and contributed mightily to pension fund returns. Today, however, and for the last 10 years, the oil and gas sector has performed