March 24, 2017

Trump, Like Small Business Owners, Shows Strength of the Underdog


The 2016 Presidential election shocked a lot of people — including pundits.

But if you were a small business owner, it might not have been so surprising. The chances are you might have been behind the winner, President-elect Donald Trump.

That’s according to our presidential reader poll conducted in August of this year, which showed Trump winning among small business owners, 53 percent to 23 percent over Secretary Hillary Clinton. That’s more than 2 to 1, with nearly 3,000 votes cast.

Small Business Trends presidential poll

The actual election results, which are still being tabulated, ended up being much closer than our poll. At this point, it appears that Secretary Clinton won the popular vote by a small margin.

What counts, however, is that Trump logged a resounding win in the Electoral College vote.

As of publication time, the New York Times is forecasting 306 Electoral College votes for Trump when all is said and done. That compares to 232 for Secretary Clinton.

The Media Became Part of the Story

This was a crazy election where the mainstream media became part of the story. Trump called out the media for what he claimed were lies. Supporters followed suit.

Wikileaks, whose founder, Julian Assange has been given sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy for the past four years, began leaking documents from the Clinton campaign daily. Those leaks showed that more than 65 members of the mainstream media had a cozy relationship with the Clinton campaign, feeding voter distrust.

At times, it seemed like two alternative universes of messaging: One set by mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post and TV news and another by alternative sources.

A large part of the electorate lost faith in the mainstream media this election season. Instead, they turned to sites that, previously, might have been considered “fringe,” such as InfoWars.com, Breitbart.com, and most of all, DrudgeReport.

Amazingly, millions of Americans trusted such sites more than the established press.

Social media also played a huge role, with Donald Trump’s rallies being livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. A news outlet called Right Side Broadcasting took the place of the main TV networks and cable outlets for Trump to spread the word.

Social Memes and Hashtags Were Crucial

A candidate who had nearly the entire establishment against him turned lemons into lemonade. President-elect Trump used his Twitter and Facebook accounts (each with over 12 million followers). And he also used other social media and alternative outlets.

Memes and hashtags were how followers banded together to support their candidates.

Slogans like #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, its abbreviation #MAGA and #DrainTheSwamp became rallying cries on social sites like Twitter.

Both sides used images and (sometimes sharp) humor to convey how they felt.

Fears of a Contested Election Were Premature

Clinton gave no concession speech on election night but called Trump to concede. She gave a gracious concession speech the next morning.

The Market Was Volatile

When it appeared Trump would be victorious, markets around the world reacted as predicted. Pundits did get that right.

The Dow Futures market took a severe dip, losing more than 800 points in one instance. As the day after the election has progressed, the markets have stabilized and seen gains across the board.

And How are Small Business Owners Feeling?

It depends on which candidate you supported.

The Clinton campaign had created a narrative picked up by the press about small businesses that had not been paid by Trump’s company.

Jon Taffer, the host of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, contends that the Trump election is a big win for small business.

In October, Trump did announce the formation of a small business advisory panel to get input on small business issues. The group identified five areas of concern: governmental regulation, the Affordable Care Act, taxation, labor issues and access to capital.

Fellow Republication and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin may have summed up the reason for Trump’s win the best when she said, “We need leaders who will stand up for the little guy and listen.”

And a leader for the little guy — the forgotten man and woman — is what America got.

Image: The Daily Mail

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Paul Chaney


Paul Chaney Paul Chaney is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers industry news, including interviews with executives and industry leaders about the products, services and trends affecting small businesses, drawing on his 20 years of marketing knowledge. Formerly, he was editor of Web Marketing Today and a contributing editor for Practical Ecommerce.

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