US business leaders warn of disruption in event of disputed election
Leadership Now's Business Statement on the Election featured in the Financial Times.
Concern about the possibility of a disputed US election result in November is prompting executives to warn that the stability on which companies and markets depend is at risk if Americans cannot trust that their vote will be counted.
More than 50 business leaders, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Baupost chief executive Seth Klarman and former Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer, issued a statement on Wednesday urging elected officials to ensure that every vote is tallied and calling on media outlets to avoid calling what may be a drawn-out election prematurely.
“The health of our economy and markets depends on the strength of our democracy,” Mr Hoffman said, warning that inaccurate reporting of the election results would “cause havoc in the business world and beyond”.
Executives’ anxiety has grown since President Donald Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election. The statement’s organisers are approaching hundreds of other executives, hoping to send a message that the business community would strongly oppose any lapse in electoral norms.
Some executives remained “hesitant” about speaking out about the election, saidDaniella Ballou-Aares, chief of the Leadership Now Project, which organised thestatement. She added, however, “we should assume that if we get into a bad situation,there are many more who are willing to come out with concerns that our democracy iscritical”.
“Business leaders need to throw their support [behind] democratic processes at a timewhen public tensions have risen,” said Michael Porter, the Harvard Business Schoolprofessor who is advising Leadership Now. The business community’s concernsranged from market instability to the question of whether “peace in the streets” couldbe maintained, he said.
“Markets have been communicating that they would prefer to see stability in the political environment,” Eddie Fishman, managing director of the hedge fund DE Shaw and another signatory, told the Financial Times.