Going To Hell In A Handbasket

Can Dealers Cope With Election Day Armageddon?

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-18-05-am[dropcap]D[/dropcap]oomsday! If you believe the preppers and the political pundits, Election Day will bring the entire nation to its knees. The government, big corporations and corruption will financially do us in! The massive influx of illegal immigrants and ISIS infiltrators will destroy what’s left… Really, people? Hasn’t all the political hysteria — thoroughly fanned by the media — gone to our heads a little too much?

Undoubtedly, this upcoming election is unlike any other in history, but we will remain united as Americans more than “paranoids” split by politics. This column isn’t about politics — it’s about your business, so let’s get to it.

Look, let’s say the worst thing possible happens and the candidate you most dislike (OK, hate) is elected. What’s really going to change with your family, your dealership or your personal safety? Not a helluva lot within a year or two! Mr. or Mrs. President will need to get settled into their first 120 days before attempting change. Congress will then slow that process way down.

The old “checks and balances” system is there for a reason — our forefathers thought of this scenario a long, long time ago, didn’t they? Before you hunker into a hidden bunker or apply for Canadian citizenship, think about this rationally
for awhile.

Armageddon is not new to American history and society. Tea taxes, independence, slavery, civil war, women’s suffrage, the Great Depression, McCarthyism, the KKK, civil rights, world wars, cold wars, non-wars, 9/11, transgender restrooms… These issues have all impacted the nation, but none of them have necessarily changed our fundamental American values.

ISIS, immigration, international trade and tax plans are the keys to the current campaign, but just look back from where we came. Holy moly, we Americans know how to survive and thrive against the odds, don’t we? The only thing that is really new is the technologically enhanced speed with which the media can fan the flames, making it all seem so much more urgent than ever before – TMI on steroids!

As James Carville once said, “It’s the economy, stupid!”

The near-perfect predictive power of the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) essentially says that at the time of voting, the single-most important issue comes down to the economy. Forget flowery hype of hope or the tough talks on terrorism; voters are rewarding or punishing the incumbent based on the economy.

Do you disagree? Track consumer confidence through every Presidential term since 1968 – guess what you see? A nearly perfect correlation between a CCI over 100 and the incumbent’s party being re-elected. Presidents and their respective parties who improve the economy tend most to stay in office. Duh!

Remember how Americans have historically needed a poke in the eye with a sharp stick before we come together? We don’t crumble. We don’t run. We don’t cry.  We evolve after pain has been inflicted! The Revolutionary War, Pearl Harbor, Harley’s rise from the ashes, Phantom Duck vs. BLM, discount mail order, the Lead Ban, the Superbike Bill, the Internet… The Election of 2016. Out of struggle arises opportunity! Look for it – like every other red-blooded American would and has for the past 240 years!

If you are spending more time focusing on the negativity in the news (or minutia which can be construed as negativity), then you aren’t being objective. Look beyond what’s simply thrown in front of your face via a TV, newspaper or mobile device. Filter… then focus. If you are a true motorcycle racer (or good businessperson), you were trained to never focus on the competitor directly in front of you…or that shop across the street, right? If you do, you will never get past him! Instead, you’ll end up following, never leading.

Remember “target fixation?” We all have it this month leading up to the election. So, cure yourself of whatever rectal myopia you may be suffering from and look out further into the light, beyond November. Things will be very different under a new President, but not fundamentally so. If you keep doing the same things into 2017 and expect different results, I suggest you move to China or North Korea where most everyone thinks alike, and suffers because of it!

The American culture has always been based on innovation, cultural diversity and doing it differently than the rest of the world. One Presidential election that doesn’t go your way is not going to change that overnight. Relax, filter, process, then move on to build your business as you see best fit for the new conditions approaching.

BTW – The CCI as of summer 2016 is hovering around 97.3. Going to hell in a handbasket isn’t my choice – instead, look for me on a Husky headed for Heaven (the trails around Reno and Lake Tahoe). There is still too much money to be made in the powersports industry no matter who is in the White House.

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