Make Your Industry’s Voice Heard by Voting

By / 10 months ago

You could be forgiven for wanting Election Day to get here already. Perhaps you are tired of all the election news coverage and seeing political TV ads where one candidate tells you how the other candidate would be the worst thing to ever happen to America. Many voters, regardless of the outcome this fall, simply want the election season to end.

The good news is you should be less inundated with politics after Tuesday, November 8, as Election Day will be here, voters will go to the polls, and citizens will choose a new president. So there is an end in sight.

One reason voters may be less enthusiastic about the election is the unpopularity of the two major party presidential nominees, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and businessman Donald Trump (R). In the George Washington University (GWU) Battleground Poll released in early-September, 43% of respondents viewed Clinton favorably while 55% viewed her unfavorably, a net rating of -12%. The news is even worse for Trump, 38% view him favorably vs. 58% unfavorably, a net rating of -20%.

Americans are even more pessimistic when it comes to the direction of the country. In the GWU Battleground Poll, 66% of people said the country was on the wrong track while only 27% said the country was headed in the right direction.

The news is even worse concerning congressional approval. In an August survey by Gallup, only 18% of Americans approved of the job being done by Congress while a whopping 78% disapproved. Congress is also on pace to be the least productive ever despite being relatively productive in 2015.

Despite the lack of regard Americans have for the presidential candidates and Congress, this fall provides an opportunity for voters to move the country in a more positive direction. On Election Day, not only will voters decide who will be the 45th U.S. president, but also 34 Senate seats and all 435 House seats.

The House of Representatives is expected to stay under Republican control—albeit with a narrower majority next year. Democrats would need to pick up a net of 30 seats to have the majority. Larry Sabato, Director at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, currently projects a gain of 10 to 15 seats for Democrats.

Control of the Senate is completely up for grabs. Democrats must gain a net of at least four seats, and possibly five seats, to be in the majority next year. Should Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump and Democrats gain a net of four seats, the upper chamber would be evenly split and Tim Kaine (who would be Vice President) would cast the deciding vote for his party. Should Trump defeat Clinton, Democrats would need to win a net of five seats to earn the majority.

Sabato projects Democrats picking up a net of four to five Senate seats. Regardless of the outcome of the Senate races, it is clear that the upper chamber will be closely divided and bipartisanship will be needed to pass all but the most routine legislation.

Dealers should vote and encourage their employees to vote. The stakes are high in this election with issues such as health care mandates, regulatory burdens, and tax reform potentially hanging in the balance. Lumberyard workers have just as much at stake.

Research indicates that employees are more inclined to listen to their employer when it comes to election and political information. By having a conversation with them about candidates, you can create a culture of political action at your lumberyard. Dealers are allowed to discuss the November elections with their employees as long as they do not endorse or tell them to vote for a specific candidate or party.

NLBMDA has resources at its Legislative Action Center to help dealers talk with their employees. There is a flyer you can download and post in your break room reminding employees about Election Day and encouraging them to vote. Dealers and their employees can also look up their polling location information.

On Election Day, be sure to give your employees a little time off on Tuesday, November 8 to vote. Additionally, remember to recognize employees for their political involvement. As a business owner, your actions set the tone for political action and engagement at your lumberyard and help elect candidates that support issues of importance to the lumber and building material industry.

Ben Gann

Ben Gann is director of legislative affairs and grassroots activities for NLBMDA in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.Dealer.org