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Political roundup: Trump and Clinton’s Michigan speeches “pretty standard fare”

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According to Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas, we didn't hear anything terribly surprising from Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump when they visited Michigan this week

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made stops in Michigan this week to give their big economic speeches. 

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demasjoined us today to talk about those speeches and how they might impact the presidential race.

Sikkema and Demas told us both candidates' speeches were pretty standard fare for their respective parties. 

While generally opposed on most issues, Trump and Clinton did agree on their disapproval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Sikkema told us that Trump's criticism of international trade agreements and "sensing this angst among particularly white males" over job losses attributable to such agreements has been key to his campaign.

Demas said blaming job loss on these trade agreements is "an easy argument to make," and that there are "myriad reasons" for declining manufacturing jobs in Michigan and elsewhere. 

"I think Donald Trump discovered early on that he tapped into a vein of anger with economic populism in the Republican primary, and trade agreements are part of that," Demas said, "but he was really emphasizing pretty standard Republican policies."

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"She's not willing to cede Michigan."

It makes sense that Trump and Clinton would come to Michigan to speak on the economy. Sikkema called Michigan a "Midwest epicenter for the loss of manufacturing jobs."

"Clearly, it's hurt Michigan over time, so that's a good reason to be here," he said.

Further, Demas told us Trump has said "repeatedly" that Michigan is key to his strategy for winning the presidency. 

And although Clinton holds a pretty substantial lead on Trump in Michigan, Demas said the Democratic candidate isn't taking any chances. 

"I think this is going to be a referendum on Donald Trump's personality."

"I think Clinton's decision to quickly schedule her own stop in Michigan shows that she's not taking anything for granted," she said. "She went right to Macomb County, where she's losing. She's not willing to cede Michigan."

Both candidates strongly emphasized their economic strategies, but neither Demas nor Sikkema feel that this election is going to be won on the issues alone.

"Frankly, I don't think this economic issue is going to determine much of the outcome. I think this is going to be a referendum on Donald Trump's personality," Sikkema said. 

Listen to our conversation above to hear Demas and Sikkema share more of their insights on this week's political happenings. 

GUESTS Ken Sikkema is a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. Susan Demas is publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. She tweets @sjdemas.

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