In political/campaign circles, nearly every candidate, political party, political caucus or other political organization operates under a plan that nothing happens beyond Election Day. To them, Election Day is do or die and then when the election is over, they start all over again. There is never a long term political plan to accomplish policy objectives. Once the politicking is done, the policy discussions are supposed to restart and focus on moving the country’s economy forward again. The problem with the Mayan Election Calendar approach is that the long term message is often subject to manipulation and hyper-partisanship. This is not good for the business community and in particular, the economy, and can you think of a time in the last half century where focusing on the economy has been more important than it is today?
Fortunately, many of you in the business community are already looking beyond the election in November and working hard to improve our economy. We are too. For us, not believing in a Mayan Election Calendar for every election means looking out over the horizon into the next several election cycles and identifying trends and shifts that are occurring in campaigns, demographics and issues so that we can help lead the business community to be proactive in defining the issues and candidates to support in future elections. We can and need to be effective today, but maximize the benefit in the next cycle at the same time.
We need to make sure we understand where and how to move voter groups that will be critical to deciding future elections and issue battles. We will always have several states and demographic groups to focus on in order to impact the outcome of elections. But that is for the election cycle of the moment. We also need to focus on groups and states that will not only help the business community today, but also help us in the legislative sessions that will begin in January, the handful of state elections in 2013 and the midterm elections in 2014. We even need to consider the elections a decade down the road.
Here are just two examples of what I am talking about:
- Several states (AZ, CA, CO, FL, NM, TX and VA to name a few) need attention today to either improve, prevent a decline, or hold steady a pro-job growth, pro-free market environment. Without communicating to employees today and over the next several years, the business community will lose ground as a result of demographic changes occurring now.
- Is the fierce discussion that is taking place across the country related to energy issues suddenly going to be resolved on Election Day? No, of course it is not and Democrat or Republican control of the White House or Congress will not suddenly end the debate either. Does it matter to the energy industry (and the country) which candidates win? Absolutely, it does. But, does it matter even more what happens after the election. You bet it does.