Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

SEMA News—August 2016

FROM THE HILL

By Christian Robinson

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

The Race to the White House Is Shaping Up to Be the Fight of the Century

  Let's Get Ready to Rumble
Election day will fall on the first day of the 2016 SEMA Show, so don’t forget to make your voting plans.
   

Take everything you think you know about presidential elections and throw it out the window. Conventional wisdom? Trash it. The status quo? Forget about it. The political establishment? It’s a thing of the past. That’s the 2016 presidential election in a nutshell. There are just a few months to go before voters head to the polls, and until now, it’s been a wild ride filled with twists and turns. How did we get here? What does the future hold? We’ll attempt to make sense of it all.

At this time last year, we summed up who we thought would emerge as the major power players in the Republican and Democratic contests to determine their party’s presidential candidates. Like most, we expected that familiar faces would emerge. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush looked like a title contender. After all, he was still popular in his home state of Florida and had built a national organization to rival any challenger. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s successful efforts to reduce the role of public unions in the Badger State made him the apple of many a Republican eye nationwide. However, as with Bush, it was not meant to be. In fact, both men—along with a dozen others—were derailed by the one-man wrecking ball that is businessman and reality television star Donald Trump.

The emergence of The Donald as the Republican party’s presidential candidate is something that simply could not have been predicted a year ago. While we had him listed in our preview article, his candidacy was considered nothing more than a footnote.

Trump’s ascendance speaks to an anger among the electorate. Put simply, people are fed up with the status quo. They are tired of candidates who talk the talk during the campaign but don’t walk the walk once elected. A plurality of Republican voters has engaged with Trump’s honesty and brashness and thus far has been willing to forgive any missteps or blunders. This straight-talk strategy could take him all the way to the White House.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has secured her party’s nomination and will face off against Trump in November. While Clinton was the odds-on favorite in her race from the get-go, nobody expected her to be pushed to the brink by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders—a self-described democratic socialist. Like many, we predicted that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley would emerge as the Clinton alternative, but his campaign never gained any traction with voters. As with Trump, we also relegated Sen. Sanders to an “also ran” candidate. Thanks to his success, he will now play a large role in shaping the Democrats’ platform moving forward.

Hillary Clinton
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has secured her party’s nomination.
 
   
  Donald Trump
Donald Trump is the Republican party’s presidential candidate for this year’s election.
   

Why did Sen. Sanders do so well against a shoe-in like Hillary Clinton? As with the Republicans, many in the Democratic Party wanted a “fresh face” to represent them. They found it in a 74-year-old career politician. Of all of the candidates running in 2016, Clinton could easily be considered the most in line with the political elite. After all, Clinton has been on the national stage since before the youngest voters were even born. When you’ve been around for that long, it’s hard to change what people think of you. Combine that with Sen. Sanders’ populist message and appeal to younger voters, and many Democrats were left “feeling the Bern.”

With the stage set, the question on everybody’s mind now is who will be elected the 45th president of the United States. If we’ve learned anything from this election thus far, it’s that claiming to know the future can make even the wisest prognosticators look foolish. This election has been far too unpredictable to make even an educated guess. What we do know for sure is that there is a lot at stake.

The next president will be able to appoint the next administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and as we’ve seen, that can have huge consequences. Perhaps more importantly, the president elected in November will have to immediately fill at least one lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, which could shift the balance of the Court for
a generation.

With all that’s at stake, it’s critical to be a part of our great democracy by making your voice heard in November. The voter-information tool at www.SEMAsan.com/SEMAvotes provides you with information on your state’s voting dates and deadlines.

Election day will fall on the first day of the 2016 SEMA Show, so don’t forget to make your voting plans. You can also have an impact on the electoral process by becoming SEMA PAC Approved for free at www.SEMApac.com. There is never any obligation to contribute, and you’ll be supporting the car guys in Washington who have the industry’s back.

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