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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Dealmakers always pay attention to presidential elections, but in 2020 they're no longer claiming that the outcome won't significantly affect transactions.

Between the lines: This isn't to say that one candidate is better or worse for dealmakers, or for particular industries. It's to say that the winner won't be a passive bystander, particularly as the wall between regulated and non-regulated industries has decayed.

Worth noting: In the past, readers have gotten very upset when I've mentioned politics, insisting that it's separate from "business." That was even true when the candidate was private equity veteran Mitt Romney.

  • In the present? Crickets.

Just take the escalating U.S. Postal Service fight. Most coverage has focused on ballots, but it also has a more immediate impact on the ever-increasing number of direct-to-consumer companies, including everything from digital pharmacies to online consignment shops. If USPS is no longer a reliable constant, then the economics and viability of these companies change.

  • Or the ongoing TikTok dispute, which is really a proxy for all tech companies that either originate in China or receive investment from China. The White House is now explicitly and unapologetically picking winners and losers.
  • Or disputes over how to classify gig economy workers, which at some point soon will leapfrog from state courts to D.C.

Then add in all of the more obvious issues that could reshape and revalue entire industries.

  • For example, look at tax policy (corporate tax rate rollbacks or carried interest?), health care policy (Medicare for All or drug price caps?), energy policy (fracking bans?), and antitrust policy (new laws or increased enforcement?).
  • Not to mention policies related to COVID-19, including everything from contact tracing to vaccine procurement/deployment to what is likely to be a continuing series of stimulus and bailout plans.

The bottom line: Every election feels like the most consequential of our lifetimes. For dealmakers, it's finally true.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Nov 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

Trump's biggest corporate winners and losers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big tech has been the biggest corporate winner of the Trump presidency, according to an Axios analysis of public-company corporate financials.

Why it matters: The tech giants have spent the past four years facing increased scrutiny from Washington, and Google has even been hit by an antitrust lawsuit. But Google parent Alphabet has seen its profits soar by $12 billion per year since Trump's surprise election in November 2016.

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.