Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


October 22, 2018


In just over two weeks, voters will cast their ballots in one of the most important elections in recent memory. The entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, 36 governorships, and a slew of state and local offices will be up for grabs – along with the power to set the agenda for the next two-plus years.

This means that the state of our economy, as well as many of the issues that accelerate or undermine growth, is also on the ballot.

It’s worth taking a look back at 2016 to consider what’s been accomplished and what’s at stake. In the last national election, Americans voted for the most pro-growth Congress in many years. With the help of the administration, and at the urging of the business community, elected officials delivered long-elusive victories on tax reform, regulatory relief, policies supporting responsible energy development, and more.

The result? Much faster GDP growth, up about 50% from a rate of below 2% to near 3%. An unemployment rate of 3.7%, the lowest since 1969. Layoffs at a 50-year low. The fastest growth in manufacturing jobs since the mid-1980s. A surplus of 650,000 open jobs. Rising wages. Higher business confidence and record-high small business optimism.

We’re urging business leaders, employees, and anyone who wants to see our economy continue on this upward trajectory to vote for the candidates who support policies for greater growth in this high-stakes election. If the pro-growth agenda is halted or stymied, we could be looking at a very different picture next year and beyond.

Gains in regulatory relief could be reversed, and our energy industry could once again be shackled with rules and regulations that put thousands of U.S. jobs at risk. Policies that are antithetical to a free enterprise-driven society could gain traction, including single payer health care and the nationalization of business. A “you didn’t build that” mentality could reemerge, depressing America’s entrepreneurial drive. And endless politically motivated oversight hearings could dish up more distractions and divisions on Capitol Hill.

No one can afford to sit this election out. As of today, early voting is already underway in 27 states. Other states will follow in the coming days. It’s not too late to learn about the candidates in each race and the issues at hand. We encourage voters to visit to get information on voter registration, polling locations, and early and absentee voting.

The bottom line is that elections have consequences. The single most powerful tool each one of us has is our voice and our vote. In this vital election, every vote in every race matters.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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