In a political bombshell still reverberating through Washington, Donald Trump, confounding the predictions of most of the pundits and pollsters, won a solid electoral victory. For the first time in eight years, the Republicans control the Presidency and the House and Senate. This means that it is likely that the political gridlock of the last three Congresses will be broken.
What does a Trump presidency mean for the marketing community?
- Donald Trump, during the campaign, called for major tax reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) also are major proponents of moving forward forcefully in this area. This is one area where both parties may be able to agree that action is necessary. Tax reform could impact the advertising community as proposals have been floated in the recent past in both the House and the Senate to change the tax code to end the immediate write-off of all advertising expenses and to amortize 50% of these expenses over 10 years. This proposal would impose a $169 to $200 billion increased burden on the ad community during that period alone.
- One of the first priorities of the Trump White House will be to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Scalia. This is a very important area for our industry because several of the recent Supreme Court decisions strengthening the First Amendment protections for advertising have been 5-4 and Justice Scalia was in the majority in a number of those cases.
- The constant leaks, hacks, and other personal disclosures that played such a large role in the elections are likely to place a renewed focus on privacy, data security, and cybersecurity issues in the Executive and Legislative branches.
- A key question that will need to be answered quickly is how Donald Trump will interact with the existing Republican leadership. The election for Speaker of the House is imminent and it will be informative to see if President-elect Trump attempts to play a role in this process.
- Donald Trump will now also need to determine the appointments to his White House team, the leadership of the key Executive Branch agencies, and the Chairs and commission appointments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other regulatory agencies. The FCC, a little more than a week ago, passed major new extraordinarily restrictive privacy rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) over the opposition of the two sitting Republican Commissioners, and there may be attempts to roll back this rule either legislatively, through new regulations, or through the courts now that the Republicans will be back in power throughout the government. Also, President-elect Trump has stated that he will try to eliminate and replace Obamacare, which will put health issues, including related advertising questions, squarely on the agenda.
- Because this election was largely personality driven, there is no clear policy mandate impacting our area. Nevertheless, it is hoped that President-elect Donald Trump’s broad business experience will lead him to understand the value that advertising plays in our economy. While in the primary season Donald Trump successfully focused on social media and earned media, in the closing days of the election his team increasingly relied on broadcast advertising to put forward his message.
Right now there are more questions than answers as to how the new administration will oversee the advertising world. We will keep you informed as soon as a clearer picture begins to develop. There is much work to be done in reaching out to the new leadership, and the assistance of all our members will be absolutely critical in making this effort successful.