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Briefing on the United States
Presidential Elections
November, 2016
Republican nominee
for President of the
United States,
Donald Trump, wins
the race for the
White House.
After a dramatic campaign, Election Day was characterized in
much the same way. President-Elect, Donald Trump, took to
the stage in his home state of New York to thank his
supporters, his family and his team after receiving a phone call
from Secretary Clinton who conceded the race. With surprising
victories for the Republican Presidential candidate in
traditionally Democratic strongholds such as Wisconsin, the
path to the all-important 270 Electoral College votes was open
only to Donald Trump. The President-Elect will be sworn in on
January 20th 2017, but let’s reflect on the events of Election
While many pundits thought this election would be
wrapped up before midnight, at 2:00 am Eastern Time
the election still hadn’t been called. However, it was
increasingly clear that the Republican nominee for
President of the United States of America, Donald Trump
was on the path to victory. Controversially, Secretary
Clinton’s camp chose not to make a concessionary
speech on the night, and instead spoke the following
Soon after, the results were called in some crucial states,
including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, pushing
President-Elect Donald Trump over the 270 Electoral
College votes threshold required to win the election. At
the time of writing it looks as though Hillary Clinton won
the popular vote, but the design of the U.S. electoral
system means that it is the Electoral College, which more
often than not reflects the popular vote, that determines
the winner of the race for the White House.
Many states have strong traditions of voting for one party
in every election, meaning that in reality it is around 12
states that really decide the balance of power on Election
Day. In this election, some states that don’t usually
feature in this ‘swing state’ category produced some
surprise results, clearing the way for Donald Trump’s
victory. Let’s take a look at some of those swing states.
States that were expected to go to the Republican
nominee included Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio,
and Utah, all of which went Trump’s way on the
night. Clinton was expected to take Colorado,
Nevada, and Virginia, and did so on the night.
But, Clinton was also expected to win Wisconsin
and Pennsylvania too, which ultimately went to
Trump. And, in those races which were too close
to call ahead of Election Day, such as Florida and
North Carolina, Trump pulled it out of the bag for
the Republicans. While, at the time of writing, the
vote is still being counted in Michigan, Minnesota
and New Hampshire, Donald Trump won enough
of the battlegrounds to put him over the top, and
the President-Elect gave a speech to supporters in
New York shortly after Hillary Clinton called him to
congratulate him on his victory and concede the
could have a crucial impact on key policy issues
including the future of ‘Obamacare’.
This Republican sweep, also reflected in the
gubernatorial elections, will have a strong influence
on the way Trump conducts the first two years of
his Presidency at least, before the midterm
elections take place. So what does this mean for
the business community?
The race for the White House has been of great
interest to British business, whose operating
environment can be directly impacted by the policy
priorities of the administration. The administration’s
priorities for trade, tax, financial services
regulation, education, and energy, to name a few,
will be closely considered by the business
This election cycle has been shocking from the
beginning to the very end. And in the end it seems
as if the vote was much less about party affiliation
and much more about class and anti-establishment
sentiment. Although the full demographics of how
the electorate voted are yet to be released, it is
clear that many voters who almost certainly voted
for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, voted for
Donald Trump in 2016.
The UK is the largest foreign investor in America,
and British companies support over 1 million jobs
in the U.S., across all 50 States, about a quarter of
which are in the manufacturing sector. As of 2014,
UK companies and affiliates have invested over
$449 billion in the United States, representing 15%
of all foreign direct investment (FDI). The UK has
also invested heavily in R&D in the United States,
spending $7bn in 2013, and supporting 25,200
skilled jobs nationwide.
The result of this election will be baffling for both
pollsters and political pundits. Pundits will have to
examine how they were gauging the election in the
weeks leading up to the vote. Democrats felt very
strong coming off of early voting results and what
seemed to be record turnout from minorities and
women. However, at the end of the day the
Republicans still hold the House and the Senate,
so clearly the math was off.
As the UK and the USA’s economic ‘special
relationship’ continues to go from strength to
strength, we hope that the President-Elect is
committed to building on, and developing this
unique political and trading partnership.
Importantly, following the UK’s decision to leave
the European Union, we need to do everything we
can to make it easier to trade, invest and drive
prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.
With a Republican Executive, Legislature and an
empty seat on the Supreme Court that will decide
the balance of Conservatives and Liberals at the
highest level of the Judiciary, speculation about
what to expect during the ‘lame duck’ intensifies. It
is highly likely the Senate will wait for Trump’s
nomination to the Supreme Court, which the
candidate promised would be in the late Justice
Antonin Scalia’s image. Moreover, the passage of
the Trans Pacific Partnership looks increasingly
unlikely, and there will be a further heated debate
about an Omnibus Bill or another Continuing
Resolution to fund the Federal Government, which
To achieve this, the top priority for the British
business community will be the trade agenda –
where a more positive approach than we’ve heard
on the campaign trail is vitally important. Although,
this seems very challenging, it’s time to move
forward with the trade agenda for the benefit of
businesses and consumers on both sides of the
Atlantic. Business across the world will be looking
for progress on the Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S.
and the European Union as the next administration
gets underway.
Business will also want to see action on muchneeded tax reform. Bipartisan efforts to address
the complex tax system will be required, including
the 35% corporate tax rate, one of the highest in
the world.
Finally, business hopes for an open and
forthcoming dialogue with the new administration
on a range of vitally important policy issues, to
ensure prosperity for the business community and
citizens in the United States and abroad.
For further information or a copy in large text format,
please contact:
John Dickerman, Head of Group, CBI Washington
E: [email protected] [email protected]
© Copyright CBI 2016
The content may not be copied, distributed,
reported or dealt with in whole or in part
without prior consent of the CBI.
Annie Crawford, Senior policy adviser
E: [email protected]