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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

Why I Am Endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

Many of my most thoughtful colleagues still seem torn about the upcoming presidential election. They are disgusted and frightened by Donald Trump, but uncomfortable with Hillary Clinton. However, I find myself in a very different place.

Politically, I am an independent who has voted in like measure for Republicans and Democrats. After graduating from business school, I worked in the administrations of Presidents Johnson and Nixon. Like many of my colleagues, I am a fiscal conservative and social progressive who has often struggled to find candidates to support that are aligned with this philosophy.

In this election the choice between Clinton and Trump is clear: one is fully qualified to be our next President, and the other has neither the experience nor the temperament to be President. For this reason I am enthusiastically endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Let me explain my rationale.

Clinton will be a terrific leader for our country, and will rebuild confidence in our nation for all its people. As several major political leaders, including President Obama, have said, she is the most qualified and most experienced person ever to run for president. She has the intellect, temperament, wisdom, and leadership ability to bring us together as a nation and lead us forward. I trust her fully to use her experience to make the right decisions and always put the interests of the American public ahead of her own needs. She will also unleash fresh energy from new faces or those who have been sitting on the sidelines, dismayed by the dysfunctional of government.

Having been in public service for twenty-five years, her actions have been scrutinized in every possible way. This has caused her to be guarded in public. As she noted in her acceptance speech, “I have been in public service for twenty-five years. I realize I am more comfortable with service than being public.” That is not unusual for politicians seeking our nation’s highest office. Former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan were often reticent publicly, as is President Obama.

No doubt Clinton has made mistakes, as she did with her private email server, but which of us has not made significant mistakes in our careers that we have come to regret? The issue for politicians like Clinton is that everything you do is examined with a microscope in the public eye. In contrast, Clinton’s opponent has never held a public or elected position, so he has no record of service to examine.

A majority of Americans are looking for change in electing our next president, but there is no agreement on what that change might look like. In my experience there are two ways to create change: blow the system up and start over, or work diligently for change from within. There is ample evidence that the former cannot work in the U.S., especially under the U.S. Constitution with its proven system of balance of power. The French tried it in 1789, leading to a long period of chaos. The Germans tried it in 1933 when the Nazis seized power and Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor, leading to the most violent war in history.

Real change is genuinely hard work and must come from within. This is where Clinton excels. Everyone who has worked with her – Republicans as well as Democrats – has come to admire her work ethic and her ability to create positive action. She realizes changes by working with all sides and across the aisle to reach compromise agreements that serve the greater good. This kind of change is never glamorous or exciting, but it is the only way to make meaningful progress. Clinton’s record of creating improvements domestically in education, health care, human rights and equality for all is exceptional.

In international affairs presidents have even greater latitude to make monumental decisions with lasting consequences. Not infrequently, presidents who lack deep knowledge of foreign affairs can make major mistakes, as John Kennedy did with the Bay of Pigs, Lyndon Johnson did in escalating U.S. troops in Vietnam, and George W. Bush made in invading Iraq. Government leaders around the world – friend and foe alike – rely on the stability of the U.S. to deliver on its long-term commitments. In large measure this is why Republicans and Democrats have been unified in their international positions since the 1940s. It is this unity that has made America the greatest nation in the world.

In this realm Clinton stands out even more. She will use her leadership, diplomacy and negotiating skills to advance U.S. interests around the world. She knows every world leader personally and can gauge and influence their actions. In turn, they know her to be both tough and trustworthy – two essential qualities for dealing with both friends and foes. She will not flinch from confronting our foes, nor fail to honor our long-standing commitments to our allies.

Being president is not a one-person job. While the president may be the person constantly in the spotlight, it takes thousands of exceptional leaders to lead this nation. With Clinton’s long history of working with the most dedicated U.S. public servants, I expect she will appoint a talented team of experienced veterans combined with dedicated new faces across the political and geographic spectrum that represents America’s great diversity. This is what capable leaders like Clinton do so well.

Of particular importance in this election are the Millennials and their involvement with national affairs. Clinton’s biggest challenge between now and November will be to get the Millennials engaged to focus their enormous passions on making America a better place to live and work for their generation and those that come behind.

For all these reasons I endorse Hillary Clinton for President. I urge each of you to support her and get behind her campaign. She is the right leader for turbulent times. As President, Hillary Clinton will make America even greater.