Optimistic economic and foreign policy messages from Milwaukee
© Getty Images

Economic growth and opportunity will return to our country in 2016 when a GOP president assumes office and, in the words of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), repeal President Obama's "work in progress," the growth-stifling executive orders.


Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMcConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters GOP senator introduces bill to limit flow of US data to China GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (Fla.) hit the right note by declaring that the Democratic candidates' policies of ever-increasing regulation and taxation make them a party of the past while the innovative bold leadership of the GOP is what America needs for the 21st century. This is a hopeful message voters suffering from Obama's failed leadership need to hear.

The fourth GOP presidential debate began with a discussion of the national effort to raise the minimum wage to as much as $15 per hour. Presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersRahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary' Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' MORE, independent senator from Vermont, supports this increase in the minimum wage despite the clear, long-term empirical evidence such a raise will increase unemployment.

GOP candidates Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE and Dr. Ben Carson made strong cases that the minimum wage rise would increase income inequality and destabilize low-income families. Further, Carson noted that it would not increase economic opportunity, but, instead, worker dependency on government social programs, which are already stressed by discouraged workers who have abandoned real job searches.

Regarding former secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race In 2020, democracy will be decided at the margins Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award MORE, Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran Pompeo: US ending sanctions waiver for site where Iran resumed uranium enrichment MORE summarized the former first lady's Foggy Bottom legacy as "international humiliation," given actions in the Middle East, Ukraine, Asia, and the rise of terror groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

Clinton failed around the world and Cruz is right to inform voters. Clinton's greatest State Department success may be the number of emails she deleted before Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, could subpoena them. How much money Clinton raised for the family global initiative is a mystery until her deleted emails are recovered by Gowdy.

In addition, Clinton's flip-flopping on her support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a further embarrassment and clearly demonstrates her lack of knowledge of the significant economic and geopolitical opportunities of the trade agreement. She cannot support Obama on trade. Neither can fellow candidate Sanders. Obama does, however, have the support of most GOP candidates on TPP.

On the trade agreement, candidate Trump became entangled in his longstanding currency manipulation argument against China. Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard Paul Democratic debate at Tyler Perry's could miss the mark with black voters RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE silenced Trump by informing him China was not among the 11 nations in TPP.

Rubio further silenced Trump on TPP — which the real estate tycoon opposes — by informing Trump that the TPP was intended to challenge China's economic influence in the region. Trump will need to improve his understanding on TPP and China policy to answer future questions.

On the subject of China, Obama has delicately danced around confronting the Chinese on cyber assaults on U.S. companies and government resources. As a result, China continues to disrupt companies and government operations at a cost the Obama administration will not accurately estimate.

The GOP candidates understand the economic cost of China's continued cyber theft. A Republican president, especially Trump, Paul, former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, would provide the leadership to stop the theft.

Ultimately, the message from Milwaukee to the nation and the world is presidential leadership, economic growth and a stronger America. Borrowing Trump's signature phrase, the GOP will make America great again.

Patterson is a longtime Washington diplomat and a Bay Area, Calif. contributor.