MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren Endorses Hillary Clinton in a USA Today Op-Ed Piece
For the second week in a row, a casino executive gave a political endorsement. Last week, Carl Icahn endorsed Donald Trump for US President. This week, the longtime head of MGM Resorts endorsed Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren has gone against his lifelong party affiliation and endorsed Hillary Clinton for U.S. president. Jim Murren, a lifelong registered Republican, went against a longstanding reticence to make public endorsements and said he is believes Hillary Clinton should be the next US president.
Jim Murren made his opinion known in an op-ed piece in USA Today, a top national publication in the United States. Murren gave a number of reasons for his support of Clinton, including personal experience with the former Secretary of State, her stance on trade, her opponent’s stance on trade, and overall personal stability.
Cited His Experiences with Clinton
In the op-ed piece, Murren wrote about his own interactions with Secretary Clinton. Speaking of her solution-oriented approach, “I believe that few presidential candidates are as prepared for the job as Clinton. I speak from the personal experience of being with her in a room, working on issues in real time.”
“Each time I have met with her to discuss complicated matters such as trade and energy policy, I have been incredibly impressed by her knowledge, command of the facts and solution-oriented approach.”
Citing American Gaming Association statistics, Murren noted that Hillary Clinton would serve as an inspiration and role model for the minorities and women in America, as well as the US gaming section. Murren said that the American gambling industry is made up of 48% minorities and 45% women, and her elevation to the presidency would be a positive for these people. Given that Hillary Clinton is not a minority, it goes without saying that part of Murren’s calculation on this point is the negative effect Donald Trump’s presidency would have on such people.
Support for Clinton’s Trade Policies
MGM Resorts CEO also noted Secretary Clinton’s strong trade policies as a reason to support her. For a global gaming company like MGM Resorts, having a president who supports “strong economic growth and policies” is important. Hillary Clinton is a strong supporter of free trade and globalism, while Donald Trump appears to support protectionism in economic policy and nationalism in international diplomacy.
Mr. Murren referred to those Donald Trump’s attitudes on foreign relations and international economics when he wrote that the other candidate had been behaving “erratically and unpredictably” in a number of spheres.
Criticized Donald Trump’s Protectionism
Donald Trump has suggested he wants to impose a 15% to 45% tariff on imports from China. Most economists believe a high tariff on Chinese imports would start a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, the result of which would be a likely depression.
Besides increasing the cost of most Wal-Mart items by 45%, a trade war with China would be a disaster for American gaming operators active in Macau. MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands each derive huge revenues from their casino ventures in Macau, which is now the largest casino destination in the world.
Chinese Trade Policies Foremost
Given the lack of an MGM Resorts’ presence in Mexico, Murren seemed to reference Donald Trump’s proposed Chinese policy when he noted, “The other candidate seems determined to needlessly antagonize our allies and trading partners by pledging to tear up NAFTA and other hard-won trade agreements.”
Then Murren pivoted to a traditional businessman’s argument. Most entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and financiers want stability and predictability more than anything in the markets. ]In such economic environments, a person can weigh the factors and make sensible decisions.
Murren said as much when he wrote, “One candidate works to create stability and certainty, qualities the market loves and rewards. The other operates erratically and unpredictably–qualities the market abhors and punishes.”
Busines People Who’ve Sided with Clinton
In penning his USA Today article, Jim Murren joins a growing list of business people who have sided with the Democrat in the upcoming election. Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos all have explicitly or implicitly sided with Hillary Clinton, but each of them might be expected to do so. What is more surprising is the decision of GOP megadonors like the Koch Brothers and Paul Singer to decline to support the Republican.
Even more surprising is those Republican supporters who not only espouse neutrality, but (like Jim Murren) have crossed the aisle to support the other side.
Of course, Bill Clinton and Evan Bayh were in a wave of Democrat Party politicians who chose in the 1980s and 1990s to take a more pro-business stance. Previous generations tended to side with the labor movement, but many saw labor unions as a spent force in the 1980s. Bill Clinton’s embrace of business was an advantage for him in the 1990s, while Hillary Clinton’s support for pro-business policies are helping her in the general election.
Ironically, those same policies hurt Hillary Clinton in the nomination process. Her opponent in that process, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, gathered huge crowds and a large following by espousing pro-labor opinions and criticizing Clinton’s economic approach.
2016’s election cycle has been the most unpredictable and unconventional in recent memory. Not only have GOP business leaders spoken out against Donald Trump, but so have national security analysts, military thinkers, and psychiatrists. In spring 2016, 121 Republican national security consultants penned a letter saying Donald Trump was dangerous. In August 2016, 50 Republican military and intelligence officers penned a letter against Trump. Over 2200 psychiatric professionals even flouted the Goldwater Rule and stated they believed Donald Trump was mentally unstable, or otherwise had a personality disorder.
Donald Trump and his supporters likely would see Murren’s support for Clinton as another example of the “establishment” in the Republican and Democrat parties being part of the same ilk. Jim Murren certainly sounded the tone of a moderate progressive in his closing remarks in the article, as he wrote about diversity, inclusion, and environmental policies.
Murren wrote, “There’s a reason why so many of America’s CEOs, including many longtime Republicans, will be switching sides in this election. We’re all looking for the candidate who will promote economic growth through greater trade; embrace diversity and inclusion as one of America’s greatest strengths; and advance policies that encourage energy independence and environmental protection.“
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