I spent Thursday and Friday with the CEOs of some of the nation’s largest companies, and got an earful about election 2016. They aren’t in agreement on a candidate – some favor Clinton, some Trump, and some are still avoiding the choice. But they are in agreement about how thoroughly the campaign debate has missed the issues that matter to the future growth and prosperity of the U.S.
John Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco, expresses the prevailing view in his interview with Aaron Task on the podcast Fortune Unfiltered, which is being released this morning.
“When you look at our leadership on both sides, neither one has articulated a clear vision of where our country is going economically or how we are going to address our issues in terms of jobs,” says Chambers, who has supported Republican candidates in past elections but is unsure what he’ll do this time. “They aren’t focusing on what every other country in the world is focused on, which is how you move from an internet economy into a digital world that will completely transform every business in this country, our education system, and so on. Nobody is even putting a plan out.”
The Cisco chief says he is particularly worried about education. “If we don’t transform the education system to retrain the work force and retrain our young people, we are going to have a digital divide that is much worse than it is now.”
Chambers spends a great deal of time traveling the world, and says he finds it ironic that other countries are so focused on digital transformation, while the U.S. “is completely missing the dialogue. Merkel gets it in Germany. May gets it in the UK. Renzi in Italy. Hollande in France. Netanyahu in Israel. We are the only country in the world that is in denial.”
You can hear the full Chambers interview, as well as others in the Fortune Unfiltered series, here.
I’m in California this morning, within earshot of the Pacific Ocean, and will be reporting from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit for the next couple of days. The program starts with Apple’s Angela Ahrendts tonight and ends with Ivanka Trump on Wednesday. You can see full coverage on Fortune.com.
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