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Time Magazine grudgingly names Donald Trump “Person of the Year”, overlooking readers’ choice of Indian PM Narendra Modi

Time magazine grudgingly named Donald Trump "Person of the Year", overlooking readers' choice of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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A museum will come up in Chanakyapuri to ceebrate Indian diaspora
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating Indian diversity via museum. VOA

Washington, December 10, 2016: Time magazine grudgingly named Donald Trump “Person of the Year”, overlooking readers’ choice of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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But the man who would be the President of the US in forty days demonstrated once more, how he can seize the moment time and again, creating turbulence with a tweet.

The Manhattan mogul, who was peeved at being passed over last year, called the magazine’s choice “a great honour,” but still took issue with the cover naming him as the “President of the Divided States of America.”

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Taking a victory lap in states that delivered him the White House – “Oh boy, how you delivered!” – he called it “snarky” as he made a stabbing motion with his right hand at a rally of supporters in Iowa donning red “Make America Great Again” hats.

Earlier, the reality TV star sent the talking heads from Washington to New Delhi into a tizzy, as he called Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a “terrific guy” in Islamabad, and that how he was “willing to play any role” to find solutions for “amazing” Pakistan’s problems.

Then he set the chatterati aflutter as he needled China by taking a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese President in the first high level contact, since the US switched diplomatic recognition from the island nation to Beijing in 1979.

“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” Trump shot back at critics of his “shoot-from-the-hip diplomatic style.”

Meanwhile, Boeing cruising through clear skies amid talks to build fighter aircraft plants in India, ran into turbulence with a Trump tweet out of the blue.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion!” Trump tweeted. “Cancel order!”

Then hours after accusing Boeing of “doing a little bit of a number”, Trump won an assurance from the Boeing chief executive — “a good man” and “a terrific guy” — that the company would work to keep costs down. That sent liberal media having a beef with his Cabinet picks from fat cat billionaires to “mad dog” generals to critics of Barack Obama’s policies from health to labour to environment scrambling in another direction.

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Trump also had a dustup with Carrier air conditioning’s union chief, who accused him of doing a “dog and pony show” by exaggerating the number of company jobs he had saved from moving to Mexico.

The mogul hit back with a swift tweet saying the long standing union chief “has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”

Set to announce on December 15, how he will separate himself “in total” from his worldwide business holdings, Trump courted another controversy insisting he would not be giving up his title as executive producer on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Nor was he ready to take his thumbs off from Twitter.

“If the press would cover me accurately & honourably, I would have far less reason to ‘tweet’. Sadly, I don’t know if that will ever happen!” he tweeted.

But in the midst of all the controversies, he often turned to his new phone friend Barack Obama, who he once said, “would go down as the worst president in history!”

“I really like him – I can say for myself, I can’t speak for him – but we have a really good chemistry together,” he declared claiming the outgoing president had even approved of one of his Cabinet picks.

Meanwhile, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, one of the few to predict a Trump win back in June, advocated using the Electoral College as a “stopgap” meant to keep a “madman who wants to be king” from becoming president.

A New York Times columnist too suggested that “Time magazine ever in search of buzz” had chosen a “man of the year (who) is, by words and deeds, more of a madman of the year.”

But a Wall Street Journal columnist saw “Trump as Lady Gaga” calling him a “political performance artist” somewhat in the mould of “Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan – who challenged and overturned status quos.”

Call him madman, performance artist or person of the times, but the magician of Manhattan knows how to keep the media pot boiling and stay in the limelight. (IANS)

Next Story

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)