This is similiar to the question we posed in 2012: “Are all auctioneers … Republican?” Today, we explore if all (or nearly all) auctioneers are still Republican — of course implying that they were in 2012.
Based upon primarily Facebook — and other encounters with auctioneers around the country, it would appear to me nearly all auctioneers are Republican (conservative, libertarian) and/or not Democrat (not liberal, not progressive.)
My Facebook news feed (comprised of primarily auctioneers’ and their friends’ comments) starting shorty after the Republican National Convention in July, 2016 ran no less than 25:1 in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. That ratio went up to nearly 50:1 with about 30 days left in the 2016 Presidential campaign — maybe a combination of liking Mr. Trump and disliking Mrs. Clinton.
Regardless, our question is: Is it proper or judicious to post your political leanings on Facebook (and otherwise) as an auctioneer? Certainly the Constitution “guarantees” the right of free speech (without undue burdens) — but just because you can speak, should you? Do potential clients and customers gauge their potential business relationships by viewing those same Facebook pages and other media attributed to you? Sure they do; why wouldn’t they?
Of course a client might hire a certain auctioneer based upon his or her political leanings … but equally a client might not hire an auctioneer based upon his or her political leanings. As a client mentioned to me in October, 2016, “I’m changing dentists — I just saw on Facebook that my current dentist says I’m an idiot for the way I think — I’ve decided I was equally an idiot for patronizing him as my dentist.”
Peter Gehres has presented classes around the United States titled, “Don’t Post that on Facebook.” I can assure you that Peter wasn’t trying to depress free speech — as he’s a famed advocate of such — but rather pass on some good business advice — just because you can, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
I’m proud of the vast majority of auctioneer association management members including directors, officers and board members (national and state) who either stayed away from the political discourse, or at the least didn’t disenfranchise any of their own members — who are Republican, Democrat, Independent … and/or maybe just ambivalent?
Research into this past election suggests white men lacking a college education were far more likely Republican than Democrat; this would seem to fairly closely model the typical auctioneer in the United States. On the contrary, younger, non-white, college educated and particularly women were more likely Democrat than Republican.
I suspect we’ve all posted something on Facebook, said something, typed something … that we regret; I certainly have. My treatise today isn’t meant to do anything except to alert the auction industry to the possible consequences of posting not only your own political views on Facebook or elsewhere, but the much greater ramifications of indicating that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is (all words I’ve seen used in such posts): “uninformed,” “stupid,” “a moron” and even “un-American.”
So-called morons own property; they die, divorce, relocate, downsize, inherit … and about one half of the population in the United States probably disagrees with you on this topic but might still be willing to use your services as an auctioneer; that is unless, of course, you choose to make working with you unnecessarily unattractive, uncomfortable or otherwise insufferable.
Should you share your political preferences on Facebook and otherwise? Sure, you are entitled and it’s an important part of the political process in the United States — but as a person in business, should you be calling half of your potential clients and customers morons — stupid — uninformed? Alienating any significant part of your potential client/customer base seems ill-advised.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.