2016 Election: REALTORS® Positioned for Success

August 24, 2016

This year's election is one of the most contentious in history. But both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton would bring strong support for the real estate industry to the White House, lobbyists for the National Association of REALTORS® told state and local association executives at the Leadership Summit in Chicago on Tuesday. Several congressional seats are also up for grabs in November.

David Plouffe, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, discusses the 2016 election at NAR's Leadership Summit in Chicago on Tuesday.

NAR, which gives bipartisan support to candidates in state and local races whose policies align with real estate issues, does not contribute RPAC funds to presidential elections.

"Trump has a background in real estate development, so he knows our issues well," said NAR senior legislative representative Helen Devlin. "And Clinton has worked in the Senate on banking and real estate issues." The crowd took a moment to laugh at the conspicuously noncommittal statement.

"Can you tell we're lobbyists?" joked Jerry Giovaniello, NAR's senior vice president for government affairs.

"The bottom line is we're going to be covered no matter what happens [in the election]," Devlin said. "NAR has great resources, we've got boots on the ground, and we're able to make great relationships [with congressional leaders] before we need them. And that's thanks to your involvement and support."

Prediction: Clinton Wins, Power Switch in Senate

Later in the day, David Plouffe, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama who now serves as chief adviser for Uber, said he was betting on Clinton to win the White House and the Republican-controlled Senate to turn Democrat by a narrow margin. "It's almost impossible, I think, to get Trump to 270 electoral votes," he said.

But with the Democratic base moving rapidly to the left, Republicans may soon see an opportunity to seize on moderate voters. "At some point, the Republicans are going to nominate someone in the middle who attracts a lot of attention from people saying, 'That's interesting. I'm interested in that,'" Plouffe said.

What isn't going to change any time soon, he said, is that the economy will remain a top concern for voters. And that should matter to real estate professionals as much as it does to politicians. "You're seeing people who aren't afraid of losing their job anymore, but they're dissatisfied with their wage growth, they're dissatisfied with their prospects, and they're dissatisfied with what that means for their family's future," Plouffe said.

—Graham Wood, REALTOR® Magazine