There has already been a great deal written about the outcome of the 2016 election. Polls, long considered lagging indicators, were not indicators at all. As the dust settles and the recounts conclude, personal, professional and political calculations are being made in an attempt to develop situational awareness in anticipation of a Trump Administration, and for those of you in Iowa, a Republican controlled General Assembly and Governor’s Office for the first time since the mid 90’s.
A month after the election, here are some key takeaways:
- Watching who Trump appoints and tracking his public statements, including Twitter, are the best way to try to determine the direction he is taking.
- Leaders on both sides of the aisle and at all levels of government are trying to figure out what this election meant to prepare for 2017 policymaking direction and position for the 2018 election cycle.
- Engaging and educating policymakers about the concerns of your business or organization will help shape their decisions about what this election meant and what public policy should be advanced or stopped.
Below is a list of 10 big picture activities to watch that I think will have the most impact on Iowa businesses in 2017 and beyond as a result of this election. For the record, I already modified the list since I first drafted it early this week -- the political landscape is changing rapidly and sometimes unpredictably.
Post Election Top 10
- The agriculture sector will grow in prominence in D.C. but it will have to work to ensure that any changes to trade policy don’t negatively impact its ability to access foreign markets.
- Governor Branstad and Iowa Republicans were extremely supportive of the Trump campaign and as such will have a hand in shaping the administration. Governor Branstad’s appointment as Ambassador to China is just the first public example of this.
- The Department of Labor’s (DOL) action with regard to the recent overtime rules as well as the appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Businesses will have to be ready to communicate the lengths to which it has already gone to comply with the proposed rules and what it would happen if they were reversed. More insight from Davis Brown Board of Directors President, Gene La Suer.
- Changes to or repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The health care and insurance industries have now been operating under ACA for quite some time, and much like with the DOL rules, businesses will need to make clear to the Administration how those changes may affect them, positively or negatively. More insight from ACA attorney, Susan Freed.
- Federal Reserve actions and appointments as well as the future of financial regulation. The regulatory structure currently in place is the Obama Administration’s response to the 2008 recession. As with the DOL rules and the ACA, the financial services industry has spent a tremendous amount of resources complying with those financial regulations and will have to be similarly engaged.
- President-elect Trump on immigration -will he replace President Obama’s Executive Orders and completely reverse course? Immigration was a campaign centerpiece and rallying cry. The Obama Administration’s boldest steps on immigration are found in executive orders, and Trump has the ability to immediately reverse the course on the day he is sworn in by merely suspending those executive orders and possibly replacing them with new orders. More insight from Immigration Department chair, Lori Chesser, and Senior Shareholder, Nikki Mordini.
- Governor Branstad (eventually Lt. Governor Reynolds) and the Republicans’ ability to work together toward common goals at the Iowa Statehouse. Often when one party controls both chambers and the Governor’s office it can be difficult to agree on an agenda. If they can reach an agreement there could be major changes on many fronts in Iowa law.
- Who President-elect Trump nominates to the Supreme Court. Trump’s list represents a very different field of potential nominees than have been seen in past. During the campaign President-elect Trump never wavered from his commitment to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court and this list is representative of that commitment. It is likely Trump will have multiple vacancies to fill in addition to the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia which means he will have the opportunity to shape the Court for generations to come.
- Whether the U.S. Senate Republicans will use the parliamentary procedure known as “the nuclear option” to push through legislation and nominations with a simple majority (51 votes) rather than requiring cloture (60 votes). When the Senate was under Democratic control, then Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid made the decision to use “the nuclear option” to eliminate the use of filibusters on all appointments other than Supreme Court justices. When or if this measure is used for appointments and/or applied to enacting legislation and how often it is employed will have a major impact on the speed and ability of the Republicans to enact public policy changes.
- How far will the Trump Administration go in reversing the Obama Administration’s energy policy? President-elect Trump has indicated he wants to repeal the Clean Power Plan and step back from international commitments to address climate change. Trump selected Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General and a very vocal opponent of the Obama era environmental policies, as EPA Director. This almost certainly signals a sea of change in how the federal government approaches environmental regulation. Industries such as the electric utility industry have already committed a significant amount of resources towards complying with the Clean Power Plan by shutting down coal plants and investing in natural gas and renewable energy generation. Those industries will need to stay engaged in order to communicate the impact of any change in policy.
What’s next for Iowa businesses and organizations?
Bottom line: ENGAGE. Election results are an opportunity to have input in the direction of public policy, particularly this one. Engaging and educating policymakers about your concerns will help shape their decisions on what happens next.
- Participate in or join a trade association that communicates with policymakers
- Integrate a public policy communications strategy into your corporate strategic planning
- Ensure that you have a good working relationship with your company’s or organization’s elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels