“’Cause something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?”— Bob Dylan, Ballad Of A Thin Man
From the announcement of Donald Trump’s candidacy 500 days ago, through the primaries, into the general election, and right up to the close of the polls last night, the pundits got it all wrong.
Perhaps they should have spent some time with the industry’s buying groups — confederations of thousands of independent retailers from towns large and small covering every nook and cranny of the country. We have always maintained that these family-owned, corner-store dealerships represent the true backbone of America.
For decades TWICE has attended their shows, interviewed their executives and spoken with their members, all essentially small businessmen and women whose companies have struggled in recent years.
Their main gripe: The avalanche of rules, regulations and red tape wrought by Washington over the years and brought to a head by the Obama administration through its controversial healthcare reform act. Though well-intentioned, the policies created for independent dealers a costly quagmire that diverted time, energy and resources from the business of doing business.
There was no love lost for President Obama in the convention halls of the buying group shows, and had the pundits and pollsters ventured into the heartland they may have picked up on the rising tide of resentment. As it turned out, the groups were an accurate barometer of the pulse of the nation. Whether their concerns will be addressed by the new administration remains to be seen.
But for now, with the bitterly fought presidential campaign finally behind us, let us pray that all the ugly, divisive rhetoric was merely campaign bluster, and that President-elect Trump will keep his victory-speech pledge of bringing this country together.