Fleet Management

Commentary: Lessons from an Election

December 2016, TruckingInfo.com - Editorial

by Deborah Lockridge, Editor-in-Chief - Also by this author

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Deborah Lockridge
Deborah Lockridge

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States came as a surprise to many. In the December issue of the magazine, we try to bring you insight into what the Trump administration may mean for trucking and for the economy. But in this column, I want to talk about a couple of things that became evident surrounding the campaign that concern me. And I believe they should concern you, too, no matter who you voted for.

The first is that many people apparently voted based on false, misleading, or biased information. Websites on both the left and the right of the political spectrum presented information that was biased, taken out of context, or outright fake. Fake news abounded, especially on Facebook.

As a journalist, and as a citizen, this concerns me. Democracy depends on an informed electorate.

At HDT, we try to bring you information and insight that will help you run your business more successfully. We don’t rely on a single source to do that, and neither should you. We talk to suppliers. We talk to associations. We talk to fleets. We talk to consultants. We talk to researchers. We read other publications, both inside and out of trucking. We report first-person observations. All in an effort to help you be informed and make better decisions.

I encourage you, whether you’re making decisions about your business or presidents or anything else in your life, to do the same. To do your own research. To rely on more than what pops up in your Facebook feed or on Twitter or your favorite TV or radio news/talk channel. To be skeptical and be your own fact-checker. To listen to the opinions of people whose viewpoints differ from your own.

Which brings me to my other concern: Diversity.

If you look around the room at nearly any trucking industry gathering, you will see a crowd that is almost overwhelmingly white, and almost overwhelmingly male.

Yet the demographics of our country are changing, and our industry needs to change with it. According to the Pew Research Center, by 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. Women’s role in the labor force and leadership positions has grown dramatically. And Millennials (young adults born after 1980) have likely surpassed Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) as the largest U.S. generation.

Trucking has much discussed in recent years the need to reach out to minorities, to women, to younger people, to fill seats not only behind the wheel but also behind the desk, in the shop, in the boardroom — to bring in new talent to run the next generation of trucking companies.

In fact, trucking faces a similar challenge as the Republican Party. In a Politico.com article shortly after the election, Whit Ayres, a veteran GOP pollster, said while Trump squeezed out a victory by appealing primarily to white voters, “counting on winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote is not a strategy for long-term success in the new America.”

Politico notes that research by the College Republican National Committee after Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012 found that “undecided young voters associated the party, at the time, with words like ‘closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.’”

Trump’s campaign did little to convince young voters, minorities, or women otherwise.

Many in trucking supported Trump for president because they are ready for a break from crushing regulations that seem to come faster and faster. I believe that most of those who voted for Trump did so despite a campaign that denigrated women and minorities, not because of it.

But when women, minorities and young people look at an industry that is so overwhelmingly male, so overwhelmingly white, some of the very talent we need may not feel trucking welcomes them.

So, I urge you to take extra care to make sure that your company and this industry are welcoming to all. To make sure a desire to elect a more business-friendly administration that will ease the regulatory burden isn’t seen as prejudice, sexism, bigotry and intolerance.

Comments

  1. 1. Russell Perkins [ December 16, 2016 @ 05:13AM ]

    Please use facts to support your claims that " many people apparently voted based on false, misleading, or biased information." The fact is that many people voted to change a broken system that failed to have the best interest of ALL American's as it's goal. People make choices as to what industry to work in. This industry is made up of talented, hard working people and has always been willing " to bring in new talent ". Not because of its race or ethnic background but rather because of that talent. HDT needs to focus on our trucking industry and not give political commentaries that have no relevance to the objectives of this publication. Continuing to foster and focus on the past, rather than the future is not the way that this industry evolved. Get over the election, it is what it is, and move on.

  2. 2. Joe Hines [ December 16, 2016 @ 05:58AM ]

    "If you look around the room at nearly any trucking industry gathering, you will see a crowd that is almost overwhelmingly white, and almost overwhelmingly male." ???
    I'm trying to think of an industry that has more ethnic diversity than the trucking industry. I would invite you to take a road trip and stop in at the truck stops and visit with these professionals, I feel sure you will see the facts.
    Our country needs to promote a work ethic from years gone by, where working is an important piece of your life's puzzle.
    Russell's comments are spot on, Thanks for your insight Russell.

  3. 3. Deborah Lockridge, Editor [ December 16, 2016 @ 06:46AM ]

    The goal of this column was not to take political sides, but to try to point out how a couple of things related to the election might affect your business and our industry.

    Russell, unfortunately a column doesn't allow the space to bring in as many facts supporting my arguments as I would like. There are many, many articles out there, in a variety of reputable media, about the "fake news" situation (not always fake, but often misleading or taken out of context). A lot of people don't have time to fact-check or don't really know how to do so or understand the importance of it, and may end up making decisions on misleading information. Whether you're deciding on a president or making plans for your business, that's important.

    Joe, perhaps I should have said "gathering of trucking management." The driver workforce does seem to be more diverse ethnically than the management side, although the female percentage is still quite low. We have made a lot of progress in diversifying our workforce but there's still a lot of room for improvement. There has been some very hateful language associated with this election aimed at minorities and women and I simply advocate that you keep this in mind and cultivate a company culture that is welcoming to all -- because it's the right thing to do for humanity and also the right thing to do for your business success.

  4. 4. Russ [ December 16, 2016 @ 10:11AM ]

    It says we're tired of your bullshit US government, and if this doesn't work it's time for another uprising against tyranny.

  5. 5. Dennis [ December 16, 2016 @ 11:07AM ]

    Wow...get a clue. Trucking is one of the most diverse industries in America! Maybe Trump was elected because people are fed up with the failed liberal agenda of the last 8 years. I for one am sick and tired of being told that I am a racist simply because I am a white, middle aged male and that my success is solely because of white privilege. Do you think, just maybe, that a persons success stems from their hard work and sacrifice? It seems the harder I work the luckier I get. And in case you are not aware, Trump won the women vote and did far better than Romney with the African American and Hispanic vote because his message was akin to Ronald Reagan's shining city on the hill message- a better, stronger, more prosperous America for all Americans regardless of race, color or religion. It is the left that seeks to divide us into groups and works hard to pit those groups against one another. What does a Trump win say about us...it says that there is still hope for a better America!

  6. 6. Stanford Ericskon [ December 16, 2016 @ 01:17PM ]

    Deborah
    You need to move the publication and yourself to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin. This election was about saving the country from those who fail to understand that unless the USA takes care of itself no other country will take care of us.

    For years our State Department has entered in multinational treaties whose primary purpose was to shore up the other countries economies. That did help stabilize the world. But with $21 trillion debt and our manufacturing base, both heavy and electronic, being sucked away to others' shores, we needed to tighten our borders both in terms of illegals and trade dumping and invest in America again.

    This is no bigoted desire, it is an awareness that the trucks of America need to handle more American made freight.

  7. 7. Maurice Tetreault [ December 17, 2016 @ 08:25AM ]

    I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would read such a commentary in this publication. Having communicated with Doug Condra and meeting Jim Windsor over the years they understood the trucking industry and to the best of my knowledge never put a political spin on their writings. Having been involved in the hiring of many over the years I could care less about the color of your skin, ethnic background, sexual preference, male/female, what I was interested in was acquiring the best possible talent and were they trainable. Working class America has taken a huge hit over the past 15 years, Big Government is Big Business it's time that we gave some business people an opportunity to straighten out the mess in Washington DC, we have certainly seen what politicians have done 19 Trillion in debt and counting.

  8. 8. stanford erickson [ December 17, 2016 @ 10:12AM ]

    Maurine

    As a journalist, I covered the trucking industry for 30 odd years. My experience is similar to yours. What freight movers cared for was hiring people who were skilled, worked hard and had integrity. Go to any truck stop in the country and who will women drivers of all colors and men drivers of all colors who are comrades.

    Having interviewed numerous managers in transportation, I rarely saw any bigotry. The work was too hard and the margins to small to be petty. All that was desired was performance. Equal opportunity was there for all. But outcome depended on how well you did the job. Like the NFL if you did not perform you were off the team quick.

  9. 9. John Costley [ December 18, 2016 @ 07:44AM ]

    What a load of BS. Why am I even reading this pro democrat rant in my magazine ?. If this is the slant that this magazine is going to take then I'm done, remove me from your subscription rolls

  10. 10. Adam Sykes [ December 18, 2016 @ 02:32PM ]

    I think you are spot on Deborah. I would also like to point out to the people commenting here that Deborah's opinion piece here is CLEARLY not some "left wing agenda" piece. It is based in reality and points out the issues caused by a lake of critical thinking.

  11. 11. Matthew miller [ December 19, 2016 @ 11:28AM ]

    Your fired! I can not believe this is in a trucking publiucation. Pathetic, this industry is pathetic today. I drove for 34 yrs and have watched as the industry folds. The insuance industry now dictates whom can be hired at your company and YOU should be more worried about the rail system than your "liberal" agenda.

  12. 12. Roy [ December 19, 2016 @ 08:58PM ]

    Deborah - do us a favor, get a job with a liberal rag somewhere and let trucking industry people run this publication. We read this publication to garner information about our industry. From the reaction, one could conclude that only a small minority care to hear your opinions. It amazes me how people of your viewpoint continue to insult the knowledge and intelligence of a significant portion of the US population who voted for common sense leadership. It's easier to say "they're ignorant", or "bigots" than it is to understand the frustration of the middle class and the heart of America. Keep your political opinions to yourself or this publication will lose all credibility.

  13. 13. David Wilmot [ January 15, 2017 @ 05:53PM ]

    Rarely do I take the time to comment on something that is written in ANY magazine that I get, especially FREE because I am a truck driver. BUT I just got done reading the Crap that Deborah Lockridge wrote in the Dec HDT. I guess that being in your office all day and never getting out into the 'real world' of trucking has clouded your little brain to the point that you only think from your political agenda. Why don't you take the time and go to any truck stop and LOOK at the people driving truck now. As a 40+ year veteran of truck driving WHITE MALE, my observations are there are MORE non-white and women and young people driving today than EVER! Your last paragraph saying 'but when women, minorities and young people look at an industry that is so 'overwhelming male'????? So overwhelming 'white' (really?) some of the very talent we need may not feel trucking welcomes them. My comments, IF you can do the job, you will have a job!

 

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