Upheaval All Around, but U.S. Businesses See Smooth Sailing

Upheaval All Around, but U.S. Businesses See Smooth Sailing


Midterm elections have tended to result in a loss of seats for the party in the White House, with the president’s popularity working to amplify or blunt the impact. The economy generally plays a supporting role.

Among Republicans, Mr. Trump’s overall approval rating is near 90 percent, although across the public as a whole, it has lingered around the 40 percent mark. The question is whether a roaring economy can soothe voters unsettled by the president’s policies or temperament, and offset any inclination to check his power.

Mr. Trump has argued that the United States has long been taken advantage of by its trading partners and that punishing tariffs will force them to adjust their practices. Those comforted by the buoyant economy may be more likely to give Mr. Trump’s negotiating style the benefit of the doubt.

Although the second quarter’s heady growth pace — estimated at more than 4 percent — is expected to slow markedly in the second half of the year, a drop-off that showed up after the election would have less impact.

At the same time, for many smaller businesses, sensitive political topics can often seem removed from day-to-day business life. “They’re not worried about China tariffs and trade fights with Germany,” said Mark Hemmeter, the founder of Office Evolution in Broomfield, Colo., which franchises office space for small businesses to rent. “Our clients are focused on developing business in their communities.”

What does attract notice is the perception of a pro-business mind-set in Washington.

“I think, psychologically, it’s fantastic when you have a business cheerleader in the White House; small businesses feel more comfortable with the direction,” said Mr. Hemmeter, who said he expected to double the number of franchises to 60 by the end of the year, and then double again by the end of 2019.

Whatever the political winds, Bonnie Micheli and Tracy Roemer, founders of the boutique fitness studios Shred 415 in Chicago, are enjoying the open wallets. “We feel the economy is really strong right now, especially in health and wellness,” Ms. Micheli said. “Politics are just irrelevant to our business.”



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