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Business leaders try to sort out Clinton vs. Trump policies


With the presidential election just seven weeks away and the first debate between the nominees scheduled for next week, business leaders will be training a close eye on the economic policies and plans of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

So far, there’s been a lot of guess work involved. And the handicapping of the candidates in some industry sectors that are big in Massachusetts might surprise you.

For instance, the region’s health care providers don’t really want to blow up the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and start from scratch, as Trump has vowed to do. Financial executives prefer calm markets and are giving money to Clinton in droves — $47.5 million so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks federal election data.


But they loathe the Obama-era regulations instituted after the financial crisis. They think Trump would be more open to revising or scrapping them.

At the same time, investment managers and bankers generally do not like protectionist policies, and Trump has been promising to rewrite trade treaties in ways that could dampen global business.

Venture capitalists and high-tech entrepreneurs can’t stomach Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

“Over half of our portfolio companies include immigrant or first-generation American founders,’’ said Todd Dagres of Spark Capital in Boston.

Meanwhile, higher education wants the research funding that officials hope would come with a Clinton administration, but private colleges are wary of the free-college model she is proposing at community institutions.

Drug makers are scratching their heads at whether Clinton will help or hurt, given her support for new drugs but critique of costly older medicines. Trump has given them little to go on.

To a person, industry representatives the Globe spoke to said there are still too many mysteries around Trump’s plans to draw final conclusions. They also said both candidates need to convince them how they will grow the economy.


“You can’t love jobs and hate business,’’ said Daniel Forte, chief executive of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. “I think both candidates fall short in that category.”

Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign, said in a statement, “She’ll make the boldest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II,” with a commitment to research and rewards for companies that “share profits and invest in their workers.”

A spokesman for the Trump campaign declined to comment.

Beth Healy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.