by Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, USA Today
Political pundits are shocked that Donald Trump is leading in the polls. The same thing happened in 2010 when I entered the Florida gubernatorial race against the already anointed and establishment-endorsed sitting Republican attorney general. One establishment member even said to me “how can you be Governor? I don’t know you.”
I won the governor’s race in 2010 and many outsiders — some businesspeople — continue to shock the political establishment by coming into elected office from careers outside of politics. Attorney Chris Christie was elected governor of New Jersey in 2009; manufacturer Ron Johnson was elected senator in Wisconsin in 2010; businessman Bruce Rauner won the governor’s race in Illinois in 2014; and businessman Matt Bevin won the governorship of Kentucky just a few months ago. Voters have been choosing new ideas and new energy over the old formula of sheer time served in political office.
I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely. But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years ofPresident Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy.
Have you tried to start a business recently? That used to be the American dream. But, after seven years of endless and tedious regulation and taxation, it is nearly unaffordable to do so. Americans are mad, and I agree with them. I started school living in public housing, and I have been blessed to do well in business over my lifetime, but I also benefited from a government at that time that wasn’t slowly taxing and regulating the life out of the American dream.
What happened to our country? Why isn’t everyone upset that federal regulation and taxes have steered us onto the wrong course? This shouldn’t be a frustration of just one candidate, or even one party. This should be universal.
I continue to believe that our next president will be chosen because he or she has a believable plan for robust job creation in America. Yes, foreign policy and defense will be front burner issues in this election, but let’s not forget that without a thriving economy, we will never be able to afford the kind of vigorous defenses that our country must have.
Our next president cannot simply tweak our national economic policies. We need a complete overhaul.
Our next president will be fed up with the fact that job creation has basically dried up in many states with a few exceptions like Texas, North Dakota and Florida. Our next president will be incensed by the fact that middle-income, hard-working Americans can’t even afford to start the business they always dreamed about because they would pay more in taxes and federal healthcare mandates than they could make in profits.
I ran for governor of Florida to turn our economy around. I pledged to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. In the last five years, we have added one million private sector jobs. We presently have almost 300,000 job openings. Housing prices have recovered, and our crime rate is at a 44 year low. Even though the politicians will scoff at the notion, we can see this kind of growth nationally if we dramatically change our approach to governing.
It is my hope that every Republican presidential candidate will become laser-focused on job creation because I want our next president to be a Republican, and I want them to eliminate the regulations and taxes that are poisoning our country’s future. The pollsters and pundits will keep trying to read voters’ minds. In the meantime, I am glad Republicans are frustrated. I am glad we are demanding a major change, because until we get serious about that, we will continue to get more of the same.