Which 2016 Presidential candidates would be best for business?

by Frank Scott, Jr. ([email protected]) 168 views 

Editor’s note: Frank D. Scott, Jr. is a banker, state highway commissioner and a board member of the Little Rock Port Authority. Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in this space are wholly the view of the author(s). They may not represent the opinion of the owners of Talk Business & Politics.

The 2016 presidential election has been one of the most polarizing elections in recent memory. As we inch closer to each party’s national convention and final determination of a nominee, the business community has a number of factors to consider when deciding which candidate to support.

While the ballots for November have yet to be set, there are two candidates whom many in the business community would be comfortable seeing square off for the presidency – John Kasich and Hillary Clinton.

The rise of Donald Trump as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination has dominated the news cycle for months. Now, with Ted Cruz’s decision to suspend his campaign, even RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is labeling Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. Kasich, however, has said that the race isn’t over and has pledged to take his fight all the way to the convention. A messy Republican convention could open the door for Kasich to convince delegates to establish him as the nominee. If that were to happen, it wouldn’t be the worst outcome for the business community. (Kasich pulled out of the race just hours after this essay was posted.)

As a nominee, Kasich might be a candidate that even some Democrats and Independents who are focused on the growth of our nation’s economy could get behind. In addition to his Republican base, many moderates and conservative Democrats also view Kasich very favorably. A former banker who served as a managing director at Lehman Brothers until the investment bank went belly-up, Kasich also has experience being in business on his own for quite some time. Moreover, as a governor, his track record has earned him a reputation for being pro-business and pro-growth.

Whether or not Kasich is successful in winning the Republican nomination, the business community would much prefer to see Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders squaring off against whichever Republican candidate is the last person standing. While Sanders has yet to throw in the towel, Clinton’s delegate lead seems to have all but cleared the path for her to take the Democratic nomination.

When comparing Clinton to Sanders, Clinton is clearly a better choice for the business community. Given both their rhetoric and track records, Clinton is more likely to consider multiple viewpoints when crafting policy that impacts the business community than is Sanders. Sanders has consistently run on a platform of, among other things, breaking up Wall Street banks. When it comes to banking specifically and business more broadly, Clinton doesn’t have an axe to grind in the ways that Sanders does.

I’ve previously written about the overreaching requirements within the Dodd-Frank regulations and their negative impact on the ability of community banks to serve the communities they know so well. While Clinton has been supportive of Dodd-Frank, she has also emphasized the need to strengthen Main Street. Additionally, she has spoken of lessening the intensity of community bank examinations and has stressed the importance of small businesses having access to capital from those very community banks.

If Clinton was to secure the Democratic nomination and Kasich emerged from a contested convention as the Republican nominee, the choice business leaders would face at the polls in November might be a surprisingly difficult one, as either candidate could be good for business.