“Donald Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP…”
“Hillary Clinton should be in jail because she is crooked, and our nation will suffer from her corruption…”
It’s election season and the Presidential race is a hot topic. Some might say that this election is one of the most memorable elections in history. However, both the Republican and Democratic candidates have gained somewhat of an infamous reputation… and both candidates have a hand in why the presidential election affects your business.
How will our country fare in such a controversial time? More specifically, what will happen to our economy, our businesses?
Animosity in the Workplace
Presidential election season often puts people in the mood for a good debate. When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were announced to be the Republican and Democratic Candidates, things really got interesting.
Animosity between followers of the two parties have clashed like never before. Stealing signs, protesting, creating hate-filled hashtags, and more. Over the past several months, we’ve also seen the presidential election create a financial dent in companies in various capacities.
Can political talk within the workplace cost you your career?
“So… who are you voting for?” This is the question that sparks many an argument.
Long gone it seems is the notion to not talk about religion or politics in the workplace. Tensions are high, and it’s becoming harder to focus at work with the end in sight. Many businesses across the United States are experiencing HR conflicts due to the election – one example of how the presidential election affects your business.
For example, Sarah, an editor of a cooking magazine, decided to hang a “Vote for Hillary!” poster outside of her door. As a result, she was placed on disciplinary probation and was sent home.
Sarah is not alone in the matter. In a recent article, the NY Times reported about how bringing political issues into the workplace is costing jobs. High employee turnover during election season is causing more instability in addition to the uncertainty caused by the elections.
Freedom of speech?
While it may seem like employee discrimination, a private company can act freely in their hiring and firing decisions. Particularly businesses in Texas (a right to hire/right to fire state), employees are not necessarily free to express any opinion and keep their job safe. The only safety net is in keeping your mouth shut.
This issue can only be mitigated by state employee protections. The problem is that so few states protect employees from discrimination for political speech or opinion (only California, New York, and Washington D.C. protect an employee specifically from political activity or affiliation). Private employers make up about 85% of the workforce, and offer little to no protection from being fired due to political views.
Unless your company is all about letting the people freely speak, try to keep the political discussion to a minimum. Instead, create a safe environment a healthy dialogue about how either candidate will impact the company with new policies, guidelines, laws, economic fluctuations, stock market increases/decreases, and business confidence. Use an external analysis as a guideline to create an awareness of potential changes expected as well as a plan to react to said changes.
Other issues within the workplace
I’ve never seen a customer ask an employee about his or her political views, let alone reject their business because of it. The same goes for the business, and their “right to refuse service.” With the issues arising between people, and not just the employees, it seems harder to make a sale.
For example, let’s say you needed to buy a shovel. You make it to the local hardware store, but there’s a “Vote for Trump” sign in the window. Would you give them business? I bet you would if you were pro-Trump. But what if you weren’t?
This isn’t assuming that customers are discriminatory (for the most part). The idea of “voting with your dollars” has never been more in evidence. Consumer spending is less optimistic than before, but like most downturns, there are indicators for a stronger economy within the next six months.
Presidential Election Affects Your Business
The Washington Post recently quoted the chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business, Bill Dunkelberg: “Uncertainty is high, expectations for better business conditions are low, and future business investments look weak… Our data indicates that there is little hope for a surge in the small business sector anytime soon.”
Check out a blog we wrote this summer about how uncertainty surrounds events like the elections.
Market & Financial Impact
Money Magazine recently published quotes from Mark Cuban and Marc Faber saying, “Stocks will plunge if Donald Trump is elected President. And the bond market could capsize if Trump goes ahead with plans to renegotiate the national debt. Yeah, but if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she’ll cripple the economy by hiking taxes by $1 trillion.”
There are good and bad consequences to either candidate being elected. As you are evaluating who to vote for or preparing for the impending announcement of our next President, start by ranking the importance and level of impact a particular stance has on your company.
Look at stock markets, debt, foreign policy, immigration, taxes, etc.
Bottom line: vote.
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Conducting an External Analysis
Regardless of the animosity and drastic differences of the two parties, we have to remember that either way, someone is going to change the economy. As a result of the presidential election alone, the economy has experienced a slight downturn. Imagine how the selection of a new president will change the future of your business.
According to Wall Street Journal, certain businesses are holding off on million-dollar construction projects until after November 2016. Compared to the previous year, predictions were much more optimistic. New tax regulations, health codes, and other economic policies are examples of external forces directly associated with the presidential election.
The Future with Clinton
When we make projections for a company, we look at the previous years’ financials. In this case, we’ll look at Hillary Clinton’s previous actions to predict the future of our country… with her role as the secretary of state. Clinton was involved with three scandals – emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Fund. Will American citizens look harshly on this?
From an economic standpoint, Clinton plans to cut taxes for the middle-class, raise the minimum wage, and other actions related to equality and creating jobs. There is a cost associated with these plans and you must evaluate how your business will be affected.
The Future with Trump
What do Donald Trump’s previous actions say about him? He has been involved with multiple scandals related to racism, sexism, and violence. How will this affect his ability to lead our country?
From an economic perspective, Trump wants to regulate tax codes in order to grow manufacturing within the United States. His controversial idea to build a wall between the US and Mexico will almost certainly impact trade with our neighbor to the south. How will these measures affect your company?
Rather than spending time debating your co-workers over the merits of this candidate or that one, really dig into what each candidate’s plans will mean for your company. Take the time to vote. Don’t take your eye off the ball because of November 8th, but instead look ahead for what’s to come on November 9th.
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