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Sending A Message…

For Republicans it was vindication.  For Democrats, a bloodbath.  And for independents – a group that increasingly is the determining factor in American elections – it was an opportunity to send a message.  Exactly what that message was is still uncertain, but here are a few possibilities:

  • “We knew we were voting for ‘change’ in 2008; but we didn’t realize it would be that extensive.”
  • “Slow down!  Let’s think these things through before we act.”
  • “Business creates jobs, not government.”
  • “Can we all just stop shouting at one another and start making decisions based on what’s good for the nation?”
  • “You’ve had your chance – time to let someone else have a shot.”

At least those were some of the messages that this voter (formerly a solid “D” who is now moving steadily to the “I” category) sent with his ballot – one that included votes for “Rs” and “Ds”, incumbents and challengers.  My college political science professor, Dr. Raitt (yes, Bonnie’s uncle), would have been shocked by my ballot.  He’s the fellow that told me, “Mr. Annotti, conservatives are those folks who have something to conserve.  And you do not have the mental capacity to ever amass enough wealth to meet that threshold.”

Thank you, professor…
Gridlock or Compromise?

So what does the outcome of yesterday’s election mean for you, your society, the fraternal industry, the nation?  Frankly, it’s too early to tell.  As I write this, there are a number of undecided races at both the state and federal levels.  The GOP victory appears vast and deep – a major power shift in the U.S. House, something close to a 50/50 split in the Senate, and increases in both the number of Republican governors and state lawmakers across the country. 

Most pundits are predicting ideological gridlock – at least at the congressional level – while others are more hopeful that President Obama and GOP leaders will find areas of compromise (much like President Clinton did after the 1994 election) and actually work together to get things done.  There are two major wild cards that will affect this: 1) the impact of the newly elected members of the Tea Party; and 2) the state of the U.S. economy.  Everything looks a lot better when the unemployment rate drops and people are confident that their current jobs will be there when they wake up in the morning.

And What About the Fraternal Tax Exemption?

While tax issues will almost certainly be on the menu in 2011 – at both the state and federal levels – the fraternal exemption is not significantly affected by partisan politics.  The fraternal concept is non-partisan; we’ve got friends on both sides of the aisle.  But please don’t interpret “non-partisan” as “apolitical.”  As long as we are selling a commercial product on a tax-exempt basis, we are subject to political scrutiny.  One of the primary reasons fraternals created a trade association 125 years ago was to ensure that they would have a strong voice in the political process and have the capacity to impact the outcome of debates about the value and validity of our tax-exempt status.

We’ve got to continue to tell our story and make our case to public policymakers.  And the fact that the association has a new name – we’ll officially become the American Fraternal Alliance on January 1, 2011 – gives us an unparalleled opportunity to establish a brand identity for our individual societies and the fraternal system with a brand new crop of lawmakers.  That’s priority #1 for us in 2011.  And we hope that you will play an important part in that effort.  The first step in the process is becoming fully informed, and NFCA has an easy way for you to do that.

Get the Latest Information from NFCA

Success in the public policy arena requires the expertise and accessible support of a rock solid trade association.  NFCA prides itself on being a thought leader whose ideas drive effective public policy solutions; a diligent watchdog that keeps you on top of emerging issues; and an influential advocate with the intellectual muscle to turn research and information into results.  Right now your association’s staff is working hard with our advocacy firm to pull together all the details on the outcomes of yesterday’s election and, more importantly, translate them into real-world analysis of how they might affect your society and the fraternal system.

You can get the latest information on the election results and discuss how your society can take advantage of the new wave of state and federal lawmakers by participating in the NFCA Post-Election Conference Call on Tuesday, November 9, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. CST.  The dial-in number is 866-740-1260 and the access code is 8709751#.  NFCA staff will be joined by representatives from McBee Strategic Consulting, our federal advocacy firm, to slice and dice the final results, outline our plan for establishing the association’s brand identity with the new Congress, and providing you with suggestions for ways to participate in this critical outreach effort.

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