The U.S. Presidential Election has finally arrived after one of the longest campaign cycles in recent history. The winner of this presidential election will become the leader of the free world and have a monumental task ahead of them. There are only a few hours to go before the leader in the polls is announced, and as a result becomes the president. The stock market nervously waits in the wings to either congratulate or deflate depending on who wins. The reality is, some engineering industries, depending on who wins, could be seeing tough times ahead. The Economist magazine called a Trump presidency the third biggest “source of global risk”.
Engineers and business leaders should not make the mistake of thinking that politics doesn’t influence the outcome of their jobs in the future. In the final rally Donald Trump gave on his campaign trail, he promised that today’s election day would be called BREXIT PLUS after he won the presidency. The engineering implication of calling it BREXIT PLUS means that engineering industries are about to be clouded in uncertainty due to the conflicting opinions of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
A post-Brexit engineering study conducted with the help of 424 engineering respondents, revealed some illuminating facts. The respondents were from “energy, transport, defence, oil and gas, agriculture and marine” industries. 64% of the respondents said that the EU was instrumental to their businesses. 62% said they were employing EU citizens. And once Britain opted to exit the European Union those relationships were in trouble. Worries about foreign investment into engineering industries also became very real.
Thus, the same industries in America could experience a slip-and-slide of emotions especially in energy, oil and gas, and defence. In truth, many industries are sitting on the edge of their seat to see if things stay the same with a Hillary Clinton presidency or drastically change with a Donald Trump presidency. Some engineers celebrated Brexit, others didn’t. Therefore, a study of how engineering industries will react to a Clinton presidency versus a Trump presidency is needed.
IF DONALD TRUMP WINS THE PRESIDENCY
Based on Trump’s campaign rhetoric, industry could be expecting major change and - in his opinion - a return to form. The industries that would see a massive, instantaneous bump in the stock market would be:
Military Defence industry: Lockheed Martin manufacture military defence equipment. Trump has famously said he will amp-up the military expenditure once he gets into office to ensure that America has the strongest military in the world. Aeronautical engineers would greatly benefit under this plan.
u>Infrastructure: Construction industries will see money coming in as The Don would say, “big league.” Trump has criticized the lack of road maintenance and the third-world state of America’s airports. Caterpillar is expected to benefit from a Trump presidency. Trump has said he wants to bring industry and jobs back to America, and in turn, make America great again.
Manufacturing: Trump also deeply criticized companies like Ford who had migrated some of their operations to countries like Mexico, and called for manufacturing to be brought back to America. Trade and immigration are very big question marks in Donald Trump’s America. To what extent, we don’t know. Many a time, engineering professionals immigrate to other countries to use their very specific set of skills on international projects. Would they be welcomed in Trump’s America?
Construction: Not to mention that wall that Trump supposedly wanted to build. He eventually said that Mexico would be paying for it - to which the Mexican president said a resounding “no”. The 50-foot, 2,000-mile wall would require construction if they go through with it. CNBC estimated back in March that the wall would potentially cost $25 billion to construct. A Mexican architecture firm named Estudio 3.14 also produced this render of what the wall might look like./b>
Moreover, The energy production industry will experience a shake-up due to Trump’s position on global warming. What will receive the bump it has been lacking will be the oil industry. Trump has also said that the Keystone XL Pipeline, that Barack Obama vetoed, will go ahead.
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
In the last presidential debate in September of this year, Trump said: “Hillary Clinton wants to put all miners out of business.” Trump also swears by clean coal. He said: “There is a thing called clean coal. Coal will last for 1,000 years in this country. Now we have natural gas and so many other things because of technology. We have unbelievable -- we have found over the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth right under our feet.”
F HILLARY WINS THE PRESIDENCY
Something that Hillary has, that Donald doesn’t, is a renewable energy plan. And this has an effect on what kind of engineers America will be employing. Clinton wants to cut U.S. oil dependency by one-third by 2027. She also wants the U.S. to generate 33 percent of its energy capacity from renewable sources by that date. $60 billion will be given to that initiative and will see engineers seeing the benefit of being involved in those industries. But what about the other energy engineering industries? Obama has been delaying the advancement of oil pipelines, most notably, the Keystone XL Pipeline.
In September 2015 Hillary Clinton said: “I don’t think we need to have a pipeline bringing very dirty oil, exploiting the tar sands in western Canada, across our border.” She said pipelines “distract [America] from the real challenges facing the the energy sector.”
Hillary also stated: “On my first day as President, I'll set two big goals. I want the U.S. to have half a billion solar panels by 2020. And I want us to generate enough renewable electricity to power every home in America in the next 10 years. With the right investments, we’ll create good-paying jobs and make America the world’s clean energy superpower.”
Furthermore, one of the industries Hillary would’ve single-handedly boosted during this election is the state-owned and private cybersecurity companies - some have already been established and are generating huge profits. Hillary famously said that Wikileaks had acquired the Democratic National Committee, her, and her campaign manager’s private emails from a Russian source. She said that the Russians were trying to interfere with the presidential election. Whether or not the emails were from the Russians, Clinton might have just handed a battalion of site reliability, network, and cybersecurity engineers new jobs due to her cybersecurity paranoia.
Ted Koppel, American journalist, who wrote the book Lights Out, focusing on cyber attacks on America’s electric grid, spoke to CNN, saying: “We live in an age where walls physically don't mean anything. Cyber attacks go right past walls. They can be enabled no matter where in the world you are.” Therefore, cybersecurity companies will be seeing an unprecedented level of investment.
Should engineers pursue politics?
The Dean of Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Technology, Steve Mackay, has spoken about where politics and engineers intersect. He said:
You have to get involved because [in politics] because you as engineering professionals have something more than most of these people in these parliaments have and that is that you are considerably more objective in what you do. A lot of the parliaments are riddled with lawyers, accountants and people that perhaps don't have the necessary technical knowledge to make considered technical decisions. Obviously, engineers have got potential problems ; building nuclear power plants, contaminating water and things like that - that we need to avoid. But really, you do have a major contribution.