Election impact: What will this year’s election outcomes mean for both you and your business?

Smart Business magazine

This is a presidential election year and as the debate continues over who will lead our nation for the next four years, there is a great deal of conversation about what impact the outcome will have on both the nation’s economy and on individual businesses.

In most presidential election years, while the race for the White House grabs the headlines, it’s the issues and candidate races closer to home that ultimately have a bigger impact on your economic future.

But 2016 is shaping up to be a little bit different, says Lloyd Pierre-Louis, a director at Kegler Brown.

“Normally, local elections have much more direct impact on business than national elections,” says Pierre-Louis.

“But this year’s national elections are just as impactful since they will determine control of the White House, the Senate and the U.S. Supreme Court. The stakes for business couldn’t be higher due to issues such as health care, equal pay, regulation, taxation, foreign trade and labor relations, just to name a few.”

Smart Business spoke with Pierre-Louis about how this year’s election cycle could impact the economy and how accurate the experts are in their projections of the election’s impact.

Which election issues or candidates should business owners keep an eye on during the upcoming election season?

As noted, most of the national races could have a dramatic effect on a number of meaningful issues. That said, you shouldn’t ignore the local elections. The commitment that candidates for local positions make to infrastructure development, modern transportation, environmental issues and regionalism can have a direct impact on local economic development.

Take the time to study each of the races and determine where the candidates stand and what they would plan to do if elected.

How impactful is this election year compared to what we’ve seen in previous years?

More so than ever. First, having a political convention in Cleveland is great economically for the region and the state. It has been decades since a national election had the potential to directly impact our state government. Obviously, Ohio and Florida are must-have swing states, so the governor’s growing national notoriety keeps him relevant in his party ticket discussion at least through July and possibly into November. That impacts our state’s political landscape.

How accurate are these projections typically?

Reputable polls usually present an accurate snapshot of how likely voters feel at that time. And candidates should be scrutinized by industries since they don’t often stray from their past records. If someone is viewed as a ‘friend’ of an industry or received plenty of campaign support from a consistent source, it should be easy to predict their business positions.

With news cycles, though, a week or month is an eternity, i.e., enough time for a candidate to self-destruct or fall victim to an unexpected scandal that could quickly reverse his or her political fortunes.

What else should people think about as they gauge the potential effects of this year’s election?

Neither political party can justifiably stake a claim as the business-friendly party. Some popular career politicians have never run a small or large business, while others have only run large businesses and never taken the personal risk small business owners have stressed over time and time again.

But every candidate claims to have the silver bullet to ‘fix’ our nation’s business climate. A candidate’s past record is much more reliable than the rhetoric, which is little more than noise. Everyone will have a business friendly tone, but it’s OK to dig a bit deeper to determine if they truly are and whether it’s enough to earn your vote.