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India is doing great: Donald Trump

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Washington: India’s rise has caught the attention of controversial Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump who thinks the world’s largest democracy is doing great, but nobody is talking about it.

“India is doing great. Nobody talks about it,” the brash real estate mogul, who has ruffled many feathers with his anti-immigration rhetoric, a call to ban all Muslims and accusing several countries, particularly China, of taking advantage of the US, said in an interview with CNN on Monday.

Trump’s first comments about India on the campaign trail came in response to a question about the change in his views expressed in a September 24, 2007 CNN interview when he had talked about America’s decline and the rise of China and India.

He had then said: “Just look at this country (the US). We have gone from this tremendous power that was respected all over the world to somewhat of a laughing stock.

“All of a sudden, people are talking about China and India and other places, even from an economic standpoint. America has come down a long way, a long way. The US has come down a long way, and it’s very, very sad. We’re not respected.”

In his response on Monday to the statement made almost nine years ago, Trump explained: “That was the beginning of China. That was the beginning of India, when India, by the way, India is doing great. Nobody talks about it. And I have big jobs going up in India. But India is doing great.”

However, in a little noticed statement as recently as November 2015, Trump had actually accused India too of “taking advantage of the US”.

“If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States – China in particular, because they’re so good,” he was quoted as saying.

Trump’s statement about India came a day before a new poll found him hitting a new high in the race for the Republican nomination with 41 percent Republican voters nationwide backing him.

Significantly, more than two-thirds of Republicans said he is the candidate most likely to capture their party’s presidential nomination, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.

Trump was also widely seen as the candidate best able to win the November election with 63 percent of Republicans saying so.

The 69-year-old billionaire has been trying for years to capitalise on his brand in India, which according to the latest International Monetary Fund projections has overtaken China to emerge as the fastest growing economy in the world with a 7.5 percent growth rate.

In 2014, he announced the launch of Trump Tower Mumbai, an 800-foot skyscraper with 75 stories to be erected in Mumbai by an Indian developer Lodha Group.

Before that, in August 2012, developer Panchshil Realty announced another luxury residential property with the Trump name, in Pune, a city about 145 km from Mumbai.

The Trump Towers Pune feature two towers with 23 stories each. The project is still under construction. (IANS)

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

Trump
supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

Climate Change, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

Trump, USA
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)