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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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Economy to Overcome Other Issues in 2020, says Trump

President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger. 

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President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Keep America Great Rally at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. VOA

“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a catchphrase of U.S. presidential politics since the 1992 campaign, when Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Nearly three decades later, U.S. President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger.

Trump — in tweets, at political rallies and in remarks to reporters — constantly emphasizes the performance of the U.S. economy, stock market surges, low unemployment rates and his tax cuts to boast he is doing a great job as president.

Economists and political analysts are divided on whether that message will enable the incumbent to stay in office beyond January 2021.

Culture war, partisan split

Ever since Clinton, “we’ve all kind of assumed that should be true. And I think for the most part, it is,” said Ryan McMaken, senior editor and economist at the Mises Institute, a politics and economics research group in Alabama. He cautioned, though, that Trump finds himself on one side of a culture war that his predecessors did not have to confront, as well as a deep partisan divide on consumer confidence.

Walmart Supercentre
Balo Balogun labels items in preparation for a holiday sale at a Walmart Supercenter, in Las Vegas. Black Friday once again kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. But it will be the shortest season since 2013 because of Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday in November, the latest possible date it can be. VOA

Policy analyst James Pethokoukis at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, a public policy research group, also is cautious about the economy prevailing over all other issues.

“Just having a strong economy is not going to guarantee you re-election,” he said. “People often point back to the 2000 election, which occurred after a decade of tremendous economic growth any way you want to measure it — gross domestic product, jobs and wage growth. And yet, [Clinton’s vice president] Al Gore still lost that election to George W. Bush.”

McMaken questioned whether voters in key swing states — such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio — who cast ballots for Trump in 2016 were experiencing enough of the touted economic performance to vote again for the president.

Overall, however, “it’s not a bad economy to run on if you’re Donald Trump,” said Pethokoukis.

Trump, said to have concerns about the direction of the economy ahead of next November’s election, will likely push for more tax cuts, passage of a renegotiated North American trade pact and continued pressure on the country’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve, to lower interest rates.

A LB Steel LLC's employee manufactures a component
A LB Steel LLC’s employee manufactures a component for new Amtrak Acela trains built in partnership with Alstom in Harvey, Illinois, U.S. VOA

Trouble ahead?

There are rumblings of economic storm clouds on the horizon. The impact can be seen in Trump’s trade war with China, which has hurt U.S. farmers and raised prices for consumer goods. It’s also reflected in the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index, an underperforming U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index and a ballooning record national debt, in addition to the worrying level of money owed to creditors by middle-class Americans.

“We’ve actually been in a sort of a manufacturing recession, seen a shrinkage of factory jobs, the exact kinds of jobs that I’m sure that people voting for the president thought would be a lot better now,” said Pethokoukis.

So far, none of this has prompted a major stock market correction.

“There seems to be a lot of adaptations in the markets to Trump’s America. That may work to his advantage,” said the Mises Institute’s McMaken.

Analysts note a lack of emphasis on economic platforms so far by the leading Democratic U.S. presidential candidates seeking to oust Trump next year.

But such a platform is likely to be touted when the opposition party holds its convention next July in Milwaukee and picks its campaign ticket. Pethokoukis suggested the Democratic Party should devise a plan with a goal to boost American worker productivity, which has flatlined for years.

The great divide

McMaken pointed out that the widening chasm between the well-off and those struggling economically in the United States makes Trump vulnerable — something emphasized by left-leaning Democratic presidential contenders such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Donald Trump says the economy isn't doing well
Tents and tarps erected by homeless people are shown along sidewalks and streets in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S. VOA

“On the ground level, I would say just in general, the economy isn’t doing as well,” concluded McMaken.

ALSO READ: Greed For Power May Demolish The Democracy

Amid an impeachment drive by the Democrats, Trump is repeatedly hammering on a specific message to those questioning his suitability for office while being impressed with the performance of their pension accounts during his presidency.

“Love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire in August, warning that Americans’ investments portfolios would go “down the tubes” if he lost next year’s election. (VOA)