Skip to Content

CEO Daily: Can the Clinton coalition survive?

Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington

If you haven’t yet, you can find our new cover story here on what a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean for business. It demonstrates how the Democratic nominee has managed to offer up something for everybody in a coalition straining between the centrist establishment her husband once defined and a newly assertive populist wing. But the divisions within the party can’t stay papered over for long. Clinton, if she wins, soon will have to make revealing decisions about how to staff her administration and what posture to take in a potentially explosive lame-duck fight over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Liberals already are patrolling both fronts for any hint that their candidate is wobbling on what they perceive as commitments to reject corporate insiders for key posts and to stand athwart the trade pact.

Yet Clinton would also be looking to launch her presidency by forging bipartisan agreement on a massive jobs package, likely marrying infrastructure spending with corporate tax reform. To advance that project, she’ll be calling on the notably deep roster of Republicans and business leaders the campaign has managed to recruit. Most on that list say fear of a Donald Trump presidency drew them to Clinton initially. But they’ve stuck around because they liked what they heard in an economic pitch focused on growth and now see themselves continuing to back her beyond the election. “If I’m going to support and vote for her, I feel vested in her success,” one veteran Washington Republican says.

Will there really be a kumbaya moment after such a brutal campaign featuring two historically unpopular candidates? How long will it last and what will it yield? “She’s thinking a lot about this,” says Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, a Republican who’s now fundraising and making public appearances for Clinton. “How does she craft an agenda in the first 100 days that signals to the people who were Trump voters that she understands the challenges they face and that she’s going to do something about it? She’s very aware the narrative post-election is going to be critical.” (On that score, Clinton’s comment at a Friday night fundraiser that half of Trump’s supporters belong to “the basket of deplorables” surely won’t help.) Of course, everything will turn first on the results of the election itself, including the margin in the presidential contest and the new balance of power on Capitol Hill. But if Clinton is elected, her ability to preserve an unlikely team of endorsers from business could go a long way toward determining whether she’s able to cobble together some early wins in office.

Tory Newmyer

Top News

Clinton’s record-keeping comes in for new scrutiny

Senior Democrats are growing increasingly nervous about polls that show the presidential contest tightening when they believe Clinton instead should be padding the August lead she built over Trump. After a month that the Democratic nominee devoted mostly to fundraising events behind closed doors, her campaign plans to adjust by staging more appearances that allow Clinton to connect directly with voters and explain what she’d seek to do in office. And her operation is aiming to use Trump’s polling gains to stoke new urgency among Democratic voters.  Washington Post

But Clinton’s fundamentals remain strong

Despite the recent polling moves, the fundamentals in the contest still favor Clinton. She retains a solid lead in the electoral college math, leading in every state that Obama carried in 2012, plus North Carolina, which he won in 2008 and lost in his reelection. The numbers suggest Trump owes his improving performance at least in part to Republican coalescing. But anxious Democrats also fear their candidate hasn’t yet articulated a compelling case for her own candidacy. By contrast, Trump has boiled his argument down to a couple slogans that, whatever else might be said about them, amount to a clear and consistent message.  Cook Political Report

Pfizer chief slams Clinton’s plan for drug prices

Pfizer CEO Ian Read is calling out Clinton’s pitch for lowering drug prices, saying the plan would be “very negative for innovation.” Clinton has made criticism of the high cost of prescription meds a staple of her pocketbook appeal to voters, last week introducing a proposed set of enforcement tools to keep price hikes in check. Read said he believes the candidate is trying to push the country toward a single-payer system. In one regard, he was returning fire: Clinton last year called the company out by name for its attempt to shift its corporate headquarters abroad for tax purposes.  Fortune

Around the Water Cooler

Americans’ economic outlook brightens

Americans are feeling more positive about the economy than they have in nine years, a new CNN/ORC poll shows. The survey found 53 percent of respondents now call economic conditions good, the strongest showing on that measure since before the 2008 crisis. And President Obama’s approval rating has remained in positive territory since February, his longest stretch since his first year in office.  CNN

Trump’s immigration plan would turn away tens of millions of legal immigrants

Trump’s most attention-grabbing proposals for reforming the immigration system have focused on those in the country illegally. But in an overlooked portion of a major address on the issue last week, Trump also laid out a plan for constricting legal immigration more severely than at any time since the period after World War I. Pew Research Center projections found the proposal could reduce legal immigration by 30 million people over the next several decades. And while the political debate on the issue has turned on the fallout for Republicans among Hispanic voters, the Trump plan could have significant implications for the party among Asian Americans, who’re projected to be the biggest group of legal immigrants in coming years.  The Atlantic

Lower Manhattan’s rebound, in photos

Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Lower Manhattan has transformed in the time since, with the population more than doubling and employment growth there now accounting for a tenth of the borough’s new jobs. In a photo essay, Fortune examines how the neighborhood, and the city, bounced back.  Fortune