With November around the corner, all eyes are on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the race to replace President Obama in the White House next year. At a time when the majority of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, the two candidates are presenting starkly different visions for America’s future.

Clinton has pledged to continue the Obama administration’s policies advocating for government-mandated project labor agreements, defending the archaic Davis-Bacon Act and gutting Right to Work laws. While Clinton paints herself as a friend of the business community, she had a low voting record of 15.6 percent on Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) key issues during her time in the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, Trump does not have a voting record. As a businessman, he has done work with both union and merit shop contractors.

Executive and Legislative Implications
The next president will be tasked with nominating a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, which will have an impact on the outcome of ABC’s legal efforts and the dynamics of the court for years to come.

Additionally, the president will set the policy agenda for the next four years, which will directly affect the ability of ABC members to grow their businesses and create jobs. A pro-merit shop president could potentially sign government neutrality in contracting legislation into law, change the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board, roll back the onerous regulations coming out of the Department of Labor and reform the nation’s tax code.

Although much media attention will be paid to the presidential election, the 435 races in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 races in the U.S. Senate have huge implications for merit shop contractors and the construction industry as a whole.

While Republicans hold a historic seat advantage in the House after the 2014 mid-term elections, roughly 30 are considered competitive in this cycle. Control of the Senate also is in play for Democrats this fall. Twenty-four Republicans will be up for re-election, while only 10 Democrats are in the same position. The Senate races in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—all featuring Republican incumbents—are opportunities for Democratic gains. Meanwhile, Republicans will be looking to pick up a seat in Nevada made vacant by the retirement of Minority Leader Harry Reid (D).

Maintaining control of Congress is a major priority for Republicans this fall. Should Clinton be elected to the presidency, a Republican majority could pass pro-growth legislation, block radical judicial nominations and advocate for small business owners across the country.

Republicans will be on the defensive as they work to maintain their majority in Congress. Strong fundraising numbers will be a major key to ensuring victory.

Get Ready
ABC’s political action committee (ABC PAC) is committed to raising more than $1 million through the end of 2016 to give to pro-business candidates this election cycle. Additionally, ABC’s Free Enterprise Alliance (FEA), which advocates for small businesses and open and fair competition through research and national media campaigns, has a robust plan in place for this fall. FEA is committed to raising more than $2 million through the end of the year.

Following are a few easy things industry members can do to prepare for the 2016 election.
  • Visit ABCvotes.com, a non-partisan online election resource for companies and their employees. Review the “Dos and Don’ts” section, become familiar with ABC’s key issues and learn more about the races going on in each district.
  • Share ABCvotes.com with employees and encourage them to vote.
  • Download the ABC Action app for iPhone and Android smartphones. The app is an advanced advocacy tool that enables users to take action in grassroots campaigns and push for pro-merit shop legislation in Congress. 
  • Visit FreeEnterpriseAlliance.org and share the link with employees and colleagues. While there, consider making a donation to help the FEA’s its fight to halt the assault on America’s free enterprise system.
  • Volunteer on a local campaign.
Getting involved in the political process is essential for ABC members and their employees. The stakes are high this November, and teamwork will be necessary to ensure candidates who support free enterprise and open competition are sent to Washington, D.C., next year.

Kelly Tyroler is a legislative assistant for Associated Builders and Contractors. For more information, email tyroler@abc.org.