THE BLOG
10/31/2016 10:08 am ET Updated Nov 01, 2017

Presidential Campaign

The Voters Want Change and Empathetic Competence!
By Jerry Jasinowski

Political candidates are always hoping to ride into office on a crest of popular support. There's nothing like a landslide to lift a politician's spirits. But from time to time, events conspire to produce a negative tide among the voters that can best be expressed as "Throw the bums out!" When that wave takes shape, incumbents beware!
It is clear to me that in this election cycle the voters, or at least a sizable number of them, are disgruntled in the extreme and eager to clean house. While the nation is facing an array of serious challenges, the government has been in gridlock unable to perform the most basic functions. The voters want major change from a "do nothing" government. This situation is ripe for a political tidal wave.
For a while, Donald Trump appeared a likely beneficiary of that situation as he promised to clean house, upend the status quo and start afresh with new faces. That promise was sufficient to win him the Republican nomination for President. Unfortunately, as the primary campaign segued into the general election campaign, it became increasingly obvious that Trump is incompetent in the extreme, unstable on basic values, and simply can't shut up.
Thus, the table has been set for Hillary Clinton to win the election with a lopsided win in the Electoral College because she is overwhelmingly the candidate of experience and competence. As President Obama has himself said, she is the most experienced candidate to run for President in modern history. She served as First Lady, was a Senator from New York, and had a distinguished record as Secretary of State.
But while Clinton has the experience and competence Trump lacks, she can sometimes be too cautious. While her policy agenda is comprehensive and sensible, it is too often not communicated with the empathy and feelings that connects her to the disgruntled voters who want change.
A major aspect of Clinton's agenda that is dramatic and sets her apart from Trump, is her enlightened commitment to manufacturing. Indeed, Clinton is the only one of all the presidential aspirants who conveys a clear understanding of the importance of manufacturing to our economy and society, and who offers a visionary agenda to strengthen this vital sector. She even talked about it with genuine feelings during the last debate as she does when touring manufacturing plants.
Trump did not respond. Trump's manufacturing agenda apparently consists solely of his opposition to trade agreements which would be disastrous to our manufacturing sector.
Right now Clinton seems a clear winner who needs to articulate an empathetic growth agenda that will pull together a bipartisan coalition that wants competence, and that empathizes with the people who have been left behind. This should be a growth agenda that would help workers gain new skills, encourage businesses to make productivity and enhancing investments, articulate a major infrastructure program, provide relief on student debt, and encourage technology and entrepreneurship. This is how we can pull the country together and compete in the global environment.
Jerry Jasinowski, an economist and author, served as President of the National Association of Manufacturers for 14 years and later The Manufacturing Institute. You can quote from this with attribution. Let me know if you would like to speak with Jerry. October 2016