As Americans file into their polling locations today and cast their vote in what can only be described as a polarizing election, it’s important to remember that we’re not just electing the next president. There are 34 Senate seats and all of the House seats (435) up for grabs in this election. And depending on how the things pan out, it could mean a change in control for the Senate. Democrats only need to gain 5 seats to take back control of the chamber. And that change could have a big impact on dealers and other small businesses.
This election season, it’s been easy to get caught up in scandal after scandal that has popped up in the presidential race. But at the end of the day, you still have a business to run and it’s those in Congress that will either make that easier or harder for you — not necessary our new president. Regulatory reform, taxation, trade and immigration are all key issues that could have big impacts on agriculture and small business like farm equipment dealerships, says Natalie Higgins, vice president of government relations for the Equipment Dealers Assn.
Higgins says if the Republicans lose control of the Senate, it’s likely that Bernie Sanders could become the Senate Majority Leader. There hasn’t been much in terms of collaboration in the Senate outside of party lines in recent years, and it’s likely we might not see an improvement in terms of working through the gridlock. Higgins says if someone, like Sanders, who has a really different perspective on what regulations and taxes are appropriate takes a leadership role it should be cause for concern.
“As far as Bernie Sanders campaign rhetoric goes, I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what he’s interested in and that certainly would be, from my perspective on behalf of equipment dealers and just other small business owners, very concerning,” she says. “He’s so polarizing and he has such a platform. I think that if you had a more moderate democrat from a rural state, if you had someone who was more in the middle it might be different. The Senate, unlike the House, is more likely to caucus about things it seems like. They obviously have their disagreements, but by and large the Senate tends to get along better than the House side. A lot of his plans and ideas would be total nonstarters for a large number of the republican senators or even some of the more moderate democrats. It certainly will be interesting.”
However, regardless of which way the election goes, Higgins says their legislative priorities won’t change. “Regulatory reform and common sense tax reform are things that we’re never going to stop looking for and fighting for on behalf of dealers.
Whatever happens, I think we’re in for a wild ride and making our voices heard for the industry and agriculture as a whole will be more important than ever. I strongly recommend you consider joining the Equipment Dealers Assn.’s Legislative Fly-In in Washington, D.C. on April 4-6.