The Business of Elections

An influential group of top American business leaders has something to be thankful for this week now that their wish for a presidential transition has been granted. 

Although corporate leaders are often loathe to enter into political disputes, the presidential instability could be bad for business. So yesterday more than 160 top American executives asked the Trump administration to immediately acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. 

Just hours later, the General Services Administration finally ascertained Biden’s win, allowing the transition to move forward. 

Signatories to the letter included the chief executives of Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Mastercard, Visa, MetLife, Accenture, the Carlyle Group, Condé Nast, McGraw-Hill, KKR, WeWork and American International Group, among others. 

The pressure even came from one of Trump’s biggest corporate backers. Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman said in a statement to Axios that “the outcome is very certain today and the country should move on.” 

Other entitIes that have publicly acknowledged the president-elect and/or urged the Trump administration to begin the transition include Dell, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, JPMorgan Chase, Dow, Unilever and Walmart

And some are taking further steps to court the incoming administration. GM said in a letter to environmental groups that it was reversing course and will no longer back the Trump administration’s effort to bar California from setting its own emissions rules in an ongoing court fight. And Facebook executives are planning to encourage users to take a coronavirus vaccine and incentivize people to share content related to the Paris climate agreement— which Joe Biden has promised to rejoin— in the hopes of winning favor in Washington.