Voter Discontent Fuels Outsiders Fiorina, Trump In GOP Contest

Date: August 18, 2015

Related Content: News Economy Elections Phoenix, AZ

Growing Anti-Establishment Sentiment Poses Challenge To Small Businesses


Donald Trump, the bombastic frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary field, Carly Fiorina, the upstart former Hewlett-Packard CEO, and even Bernie Sanders, the impassioned left-wing populist, would not seem to have anything in common based on surface appearances. However, their early emergence in the 2016 presidential race can be traced back to a common phenomenon: Voter anger at a political system that is widely regarded as dysfunctional and unresponsive. Small businesses should pay attention to their emergence, particularly the issues they have proven salient, such as immigration, which could have an effect on Arizona’s “$21 billion tourism industry, business recruitment efforts and the state’s image,” according to the Phoenix Business Journal. Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, noted Fiorina identified the “Trump effect” in the pre-debate on Fox News, and that he has “tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would be resolved, the political class has failed you. That’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.” For her part, Quinlan said, Fiorina is tapping into the voter angst “in her own highly professional and serious way, unlike Trump’s.” In Arizona, incumbent politicians of both parties could bear the brunt of the anti-establishment anger, even those allied with the state’s businesses. The populist discontent could fuel a rightward shift of the state’s already conservative Legislature, which may become less friendly to small business priorities. And Sen. John McCain, the state’s senior senator, could face fallout from his establishment ties in his GOP primary.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The unsettled political environment should be a primary concern for small business owners. Businesses flourish in an environment of regulatory stability and legislative accountability. While they may share negative views of political dysfunction, business owners know they will benefit from political leaders who address contentious issues in a thoughtful and responsible way.

Additional Reading

NFIB previously noted GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) policies that could affect the small business community. NFIB also covered Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s discussion of business issues.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

Related Content: News | Economy | Elections | Phoenix, AZ

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