How Decision 2016 Will Affect the Auto Industry

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
how decision 2016 will affect the auto industry

As this is written in late June, the 2016 presidential race has been whittled down to two presumptive nominees from the two major political parties, and two or three more candidates that should appear on ballots nationwide. There are dozens of issues facing the public, certainly, but as The Truth About Cars is obviously an automotive-focused site, we felt discussing issues not related to the auto industry is well beyond the scope of our talents or expertise.

However, there are plenty of issues that will affect our industry, so we are establishing a discussion on the candidate’s positions on those issues. We aim to present a fair, unbiased assessment that will no doubt be shredded within the first five comments, so have at it.

As we see it, there are three broad issues facing the next President that have an impact on the auto industry: labor, the environment, and international trade.

Labor and International Trade

Ultimately, labor and international trade issues are linked, as the two mainstream party candidates — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — have both made statements opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as signed by President Obama in February.

Donald Trump, writing in USA Today in March:

One of the factors driving this economic devastation is America’s disastrous trade policies. Throughout history, at the center of any thriving country has been a thriving manufacturing sector. But under decades of failed leadership, the United States has gone from being the globe’s manufacturing powerhouse – the envy of the world – through a rapid deindustrialization that has evaporated entire communities.

The number of jobs and amount of wealth and income the United States have given way in so short a time is staggering, likely unprecedented. And the situation is about to get drastically worse if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not stopped. One of the first casualties of the TPP will be America’s auto industry…

Hillary Clinton, speaking also in March to autoworkers in Youngstown, Ohio, as quoted in Politico:

We can not let rules of origin allow China – or anyone else, but principally China – to go around trade agreements. It’s one of the reasons why I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership because when I saw what was in it, it was clear to me there were too many loopholes, too many opportunities for folks to be taken advantage of.

Regarding labor, Clinton has pledged to support businesses with tax credits and other incentives to provide apprenticeships and other on-the-job training. While the powerful AFL-CIO union consortium has endorsed Clinton, and the UAW has further denounced Trump’s candidacy, there is concern that the typical union member has a long memory of the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1993 by Clinton’s husband, then-President Bill Clinton.

Among third-party candidates, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has advocated for right-to-work laws, which keep unions from requiring employees from joining the brotherhood if they do not wish to do so. Furthermore, Johnson stated job creation comes from creating an environment where private businesses can perform free of onerous government regulation:

Government regulation should only exist to protect citizens from bad actors and the harm they might do to health, safety, and property. Regulation should not be used to manipulate behavior, manage private lives and businesses, and to place unnecessary burdens on those who make our economy work. Eliminating unnecessary regulations and applying common sense to those rules that are necessary will free up capital and allow those who want and need to create jobs to do so.

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein promotes a similar platform to that of Bernie Sanders on labor, as both advocate for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. Stein continues:

Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Advance workers rights to form unions, achieve workplace democracy, and keep a fair share of wealth they create.

These agreements between the Sanders and Stein platforms have led Dr. Stein to propose that Sanders continue his campaign atop the Green Party ticket, as Sanders winds down his bid for the Democratic Party nomination after Clinton clinched the required number of delegates.


Climate change — often called global warming — is another major issue facing candidates, as they debate the environmental impact of a century of petroleum combustion by automobiles.

Hillary Clinton has proposed that fixing climate change isn’t merely an opportunity to create a better world to live in. Rather, she suggests that replacing oil with renewable energies such as solar can create jobs. As she wrote in Time in November:

I won’t let anyone to take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.

Donald Trump, however, has stated that he is “not a great believer in man-made climate change.” That said, he is apparently concerned enough about global warming to cite it in a request to build a sea wall to protect one of his golf courses in Ireland. In a tweet from several years ago, Trump framed climate change as a concept imagined by the Chinese to impact American manufacturing:

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

Whether Dr. Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders tops the Green Party’s ticket in November, one can reasonably deduce from the party’s name that alternative, renewable energy sources will be a priority. Stein wants to “ end destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines.” Sanders basically concurs, while encouraging a “fair” transition for those now working in the fossil-fuel industry, ensuring continued employment and wages.

Gary Johnson acknowledges his belief that global warming is caused by humans. That said, while he agrees that protecting natural resources from contamination is a vital role of government, choosing an energy alternative should be handled by the free market, not by government employees or elected officials who many not have the interests of the entire nation at heart.


We have about five months left until Election Day. Each of these five candidates have varying positions that affect not just the auto industry, but the future of this country. Please carefully consider what we have written here, but do note that the author was only a political science major for about six months, mostly before he reached voting age.

Read the candidate’s websites (listed below alphabetically), read reputable news sources, and ask questions of the candidates before pulling the lever on November 8th.

Hillary Clinton

Gary Johnson

Bernie Sanders

Jill Stein

Donald Trump

In interest of full disclosure, Chris Tonn is a libertarian, though he is not a member of the Libertarian Party. In 2012, he did support Gary Johnson’s campaign as a member of the Libertarian Party, on a limited basis.

[Image: By Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg: BU Rob13Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg: Gage [ GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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  • Mchan1 Mchan1 on Jun 22, 2016

    Trump vs Hillary... pick the lessor of 2 evils. The country needs jobs! The country needs Less regulations! The country needs a smaller federal and state governments! Generally, Can't wait for Boomers to die off! Having read and heard elsewhere regarding Boomers.. "Die Already!" Then you have to deal with their spoiled, entitled Brats.. the millennials, who are following their parents' footsteps in destroying America. Pushing PC cr@p to Everyone who disagrees with them. It's easy to turn from somewhat liberal to a conservative when dealing with the Boomers and their D@mn millennials! Guess maturing means getting some wisdom! Heaven help America!

  • Fred Fred on Jun 23, 2016

    258, and counting, mostly bs comments of name calling and picking on poor BTSR. No matter the results it looks like we will still be divided and nothing will get done. Cries of compromise will go unanswered and we will keep pointing fingers. That's too bad for YOU. Me I'll be retired, living in the Sierras and I'll be fine. Well as long as I stay healthy and you cheap ass Tea Party clowns don't screw up my Medicare and Social Security.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?