A new kind of candidate? The importance of political experience, or not
Published Tuesday, November 8, 2016 9:30AM EST
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s well-known resume includes serving as a senator, Secretary of State and First Lady. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a fortune in real estate and has hosted his own reality television show, but he’s never held public office. The work experience of these two candidates couldn’t be more different and yet, they’re both want the same job. So how much does political experience actually matter during an election campaign?
Republican strategist Jay Townsend told CTV’s Your Morning host Anne-Marie Mediwake in New York City on Tuesday, that he believes candidates need prior political knowledge to be able to work effectively once they’re in elected.
“We are used to candidates that know something about how to move the levers of power, how to build coalitions in congress and when they can’t do that, how to go over the heads of members of congress and get voters to move their own congressmen,” Townsend said. “It makes a great deal of difference.”
Neal Kwatra, a democratic strategist, said he agrees with Townsend, that a president should be accustomed to co-operating with other politicians.
“You need to build coalitions, you need multilateral approaches and you need that experience. No question about it,” Kwatra told Mediwake in New York City on Tuesday.
So how do the strategists explain the popularity of Trump? Kwatra thinks the Republican Party, in particular, has promoted an anti-government and anti-establishment approach for the last 40 years, which has allowed an outsider candidate like Trump to succeed.
“They’ve (the Republican Party) created in their base a desire for people who are not a part of the political establishment and I think Donald Trump is the manifestation of that,” Kwatra said.
Townsend believes the rise of Trump has more to do with American voters and a growing disillusionment among them. He said the Republican Party leadership will need to reflect to understand how Trump became their party’s candidate.
“This man (Trump) has made more mistakes than any recent political candidate in U.S. history and the question at the end of the day will be, ‘How did this man manage to get more than 40 per cent of the vote in the greatest democracy in the world?’” Townsend said. “Why are so many in the United States completely disaffected and willing to vote for someone like Donald Trump?”