A pragmatic approach and her experience of government would make Hillary Clinton an effective president, writes Brian Caplan. Big ideas are just what she doesn’t need.

Hillary Clinton is likely to be America's next president. Polls put her 9 per cent ahead in a straight fight with Donald Trump. Given that two-thirds of Americans distrust her this is a rather surprising result. But then the rise of unelectable populists on both sides of the political spectrum – Republican Trump and Clinton's Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders -- makes this a rather surprising US election.

If she wins Clinton will have three big advantages.

Firstly, expectations of what she will do are very low so whatever she achieves will be seen as a plus. Second, she is not ideological like George Bush, for example, so she can make policy on a pragmatic basis. She is also not afraid to change her thinking when circumstances require it. Third, she has experience of government. Lack of it made Obama's task much tougher and she could well achieve more than him.

She is not a great orator like Obama or Bill Clinton but those qualities get you the presidential job -- they do not guarantee you can do it.

The Economist newspaper says: "She needs bolder ideas." In fact that is just what she doesn't need. The nature of the US congressional system makes pushing through bold reforms almost impossible. Far better to have smaller, sensible and executable ideas such as the ones she does have on improving access to education, raising the minimum wage, increasing infrastructure spending and reducing the numbers in jail.

There are no easy fixes to the US wage stagnation that has occurred as a result of globalisation. Steady as she goes will get America a lot further than dramatic responses. In the end this approach may cause analysts to rethink their assessment of her.

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