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The Observer view on president-elect Donald Trump | Observer editorial

America and the world enter the unknown

The inauguration of a US president is normally a moment of great hope. It is a celebration of representative democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. It is an affirmation that the ideals and laws set out in the 1787 US constitution, still a global paradigm for modern-day governance, continue to be honoured and observed. Inauguration confers legitimacy on a head of state in the name of we, the people. The incumbent has a duty to respect and uphold the constitutions central aims, namely to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.

The inauguration this Friday of Donald Trump as 45th US president is not a normal moment. Nor for the majority of Americans who did not vote for him, and countless onlookers around the globe, is it a moment of hope. Rather, Trumps ascent to what is commonly termed the worlds most powerful job is a moment of dread, anxiety and great foreboding. We said, after he won the Republican nomination last summer, that Trump has shown himself unfit to be president. His often-demonstrated ignorance, racial bigotry, misogyny, untruthfulness, hostility to free speech, crude bullying and dangerous, rabble-rousing nationalism utterly disqualify him.

Nothing has occurred since Trump narrowly won last Novembers election, despite polling nearly three million fewer votes than the Democrats Hillary Clinton, to alter this unhappy conclusion. The president-elects press conference last week failed to justify hopes that the imminent, awesome responsibilities of office would moderate his reckless behaviour. In a matter of minutes, he slandered Americas intelligence agencies, threatened Mexico, vowed again to build a border wall, pistol-whipped US businesses that invest abroad, took a wrecking ball to Obamacare, pilloried unfavoured news organisations, and boasted about a shady $2bn business deal. This is not the behaviour of a president.

Although only days away from the Oval Office, Trump continues to blurt out half-baked opinions on sensitive issues, like a bar-room boor. He appears not to think before he opens his mouth or his Twitter account. And what pops out is usually offensive, inflammatory or inaccurate, exemplified by last weeks insulting of Meryl Streep. Hopefully, speechwriters more sensible than he will craft his inaugural address. Fridays ceremony is a momentous occasion. It will be watched around the world. It is a showcase for America. Yet Trump is an embarrassment. His elevation is a national humiliation.

Few will enjoy this gross spectacle more than Vladimir Putin, Russias messianic president, and his plausibly deniable teams of cyberhackers, conspirators, fake newsmen and skilled muddiers of pools. Russias election interference on Trumps behalf, publicly certified by the Obama administration and all the US intelligence agencies, has cast a dark shadow. The release last week of an unverified dossier alleging Russian contacts with Trumps campaign staff and the gathering of blackmail material against him has intensified fears that Moscow is still trying, directly or indirectly, to manipulate the president-elect, by exploiting his inexperience, vanity and naive view of Putin.

Trump has flatly denied the dossiers allegations in his customary, choleric way. But his narcissism, when combined with his visceral hatred of Barack Obamas foreign policy and his susceptibility to flattery, makes him a vulnerable target. Putin calmly repudiated the dossier, refusing to be drawn into the dispute, just as he refused to react to Obamas expulsion of Russian diplomats over the election scandal. Russias leader is plainly expecting political payback in the form of an early summit with Trump. Only then may his real objectives become clear, including perhaps the lifting of US sanctions over Ukraine, acquiescence in Russias annexation of Crimea, a free hand in Syria and a Nato pullback in eastern Europe. Meanwhile, Putin can sit back and enjoy the unprecedented confusion and disarray in Washington that his covert activities helped engender.

Yet for much of the confusion attending the transition, Trump alone is to blame. He often stresses his experience as a business leader and decision-maker. But decisive leadership has been alarmingly lacking amid the conflicting policy approaches promoted by his most senior nominees. Rex Tillerson, the ExxonMobil oilman improbably tapped for secretary of state, said last week the US would, in effect, besiege fortified islands Beijing has illegally created in the South China Sea. There is no doubt that the islands are a problem. But threatening to expel the Chinese by military force is not a sensible way to address it. This latest provocation follows Trumps incendiary, off-the-cuff comments about Taiwan. Little wonder Chinese state media are warning of a coming war with the US.

The impression that Trump and his top advisers have little idea what they are doing and scant grasp of key issues has strengthened, rather than receded, as the transition has chaotically unravelled. Trump says the CIA are behaving like Nazis. Mike Pompeo, his nominee for CIA director, lavishes praise on the agency and pledges to investigate the same dossier that Trump dismissed out of hand. While Trumps sons, acolytes and lawyers insist their billionaire daddy-boss will avoid conflicts of interest, Ben Carson, his choice as housing tsar, refuses to rule out the possibility of millions of dollars in federal grants benefitting Trumps real estate empire.

A former general, James Mattis, slated to become defence secretary, revealed even bigger contradictions. Far from endorsing Trumps ideas about enhanced future collaboration with Russia, Mattis identified Putin as a powerful foe intent on destroying Nato. It was vital, he said, that we recognise the reality of what we [are dealing] with with Mr Putin. Russia had chosen the role of strategic adversary and the US must be prepared to confront it. Mattis also declared Russian forces had committed war crimes in Syria, a view shared by the Obama administration, Britain and the UN, but one that has not been endorsed by Trump. Add to that Tillersons separate comments that Russia should be punished for invading Crimea and policy towards Moscow looks more than merely confused. As with China, it looks like Trump is spoiling for a fight.

Well, is he? The fact is, nobody knows and that includes a lazy, muddled and largely clueless Trump himself. Spouting prejudices, selling slogans and making it up as you go along may work on the campaign trail. But it will not do in the White House.

Even if all Trumps numerous inadequacies and sordid personal baggage were set to one side, his egregious lack of coherent, fact-based, rational and cooperative policy platforms, especially internationally, is potentially disastrous. Look again at what the US constitution demands: justice, tranquillity, liberty, common defence and the common good. All these principles are in peril. As the Trump era begins, a more imperfect disunion is the dismal prospect.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/15/observer-view-president-donald-trump


Trump has a life many aspire to. That’s one reason people voted him | Justin Gest

The president-elect wields his version of the American dream to inspire millions of supporters who ironically are highly unlikely to achieve it

It is a statement about the desperation of white working-class representation in American politics that their voice is a jet-set real estate developer from Manhattan who happened to make a direct appeal for their votes. However, its not enough to appeal to voters; the great politicians bond with them.

Those who roll their eyes at Trumps ongoing rallies underestimate the extent to which the President-elect actually connects with his white working class voters by living the life many of them have always wanted.

In his aspirational but undisciplined You only live once style, Trump is an avatar of those who are acutely aware of moneys evanescence.

For much of American history, all the rich were nouveau riche to some extent. There is no landed aristocracy or royalty to speak of. At some point, all American families were commoner muck from somewhere else. But over time, the US has grown older and developed an increasingly ossified class hierarchy that has effectively entrenched the wealthy by birthright distinguishing them from the arrivistes.

By most accounts, the president-elect won the birthright lottery by inheriting a sizable trust fund. But the ostentatious gold lettering, the unsubtle cherry red ties, the beauty pageant wife, the overt self-aggrandizement everywhere, the fake tanner: this is beer taste on a champagne budget.

While this is reminiscent of a lottery winners palate, more subtly it communicates an understanding of money as fleeting and fragile the experience of many white working-class people who have lost so much in the decline of manufacturing, the savings and loan crisis, and the great recession.

As part of my research on white working class politics over the past five years, I spent several months in Youngstown, Ohio a once prosperous mecca for steel that is now one of the poorest cities in the US. There, the American Dream is increasingly tarnished, but my respondents hold out hope for the messianic return of a signature industry and a political champion.

Everybody wants the big stroke, a former Youngstown public official told me. There have been scrambles for a Lufthansa air cargo hub here, the worlds first indoor Nascar race track, an Avanti car body factory. That drives things. Somebody from the outside is going to rescue us and make it like the steel mills again.

To replace the collapse of an industrial behemoth, many Youngstowners can only fathom the majestic arrival of another. There is little patience for the organic growth promoted by earlier leaders and President Obama, whose 2009 stimulus rescued the neighboring automobile industry and supported incremental actions like a local business incubator in the heart of Youngstown.

While Obama is skeptical of the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that is transforming landscapes in adjacent western Pennsylvania, Trump promises to go big and spread his winnings around the peoples billionaire.

And Youngstowners know precisely what they would do with the windfall. Already, many yearn for the life of Trump.

Im going to get lung cancer like this, said an industrial painter I interviewed. He patted his brow. If they would open that racetrack casino, Id take a job there, so I can be in the air conditioning all day with broads walking around me.

An unemployed, mother of three told me: For two people whove worked all their lives, the only way to have the American Dream is to hit the lottery. Thats the new American Dream.

Ironically, it is the prospect of the American Dream that Trump wields to inspire millions of supporters who according to economic research are highly unlikely to achieve it.

Compared to the working classes of European countries, Americans are less inclined to resent the rich. Rather, we celebrate them as job creators, innovators and engineers of economic growth. There is a perception many would say, a myth that we are all buoyed by their success, indeed that we contributed to and are associated with their success, or that we may even live vicariously through them.

However, Americans do resent the surreptitiously wealthy, characterized by exclusivity and invisibility. We resent the wealthy who do not engage their fellow citizens, and rather shroud their cushioned lifestyles behind the deception of offshore bank accounts, shell companies and homes inside the gates of St Tropez. For his supporters unnerved by such stealth wealth, Donald Trumps glitzy public persona is far more accountability than a complicated tax return.

Tax returns force the stealthily wealthy to disclose their dealings, and contrasts Trumps public exhibitionism with the discreet fortunes of the Bush Family, the Romneys and Republicans of yesteryear. In the eyes of many working class white people, downplaying ones wealth to artificially connect with the poor is a far greater sin than aspirational puffery and false grandeur.

Trump is Scrooge McDuck to their Montgomery Burns the inscrutable boardroom fat cat.

At one Pennsylvania rally in October, he even said he considered himself to be in a certain way a blue-collar worker.

In this way, Donald Trump also transcends what has become a barrier between white working-class people in Americas hinterland and white, liberal cosmopolitans in its cities. Those in the hinterland often feel that their urban co-ethnics have turned their back on struggling, working-class white people in order to embrace immigrant upstarts and African-Americans in light of the structural disadvantages they face.

In his lifestyle choices, Donald Trump embodies a reassurance to working class white people that he is somehow one of them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/16/trump-american-dream-working-class


Trump v the media: did his tactics mortally wound the fourth estate?

From a bonanza of free airtime to an overt media campaign against him, Donald Trump was a candidate covered like no other. But were journalists unwitting accomplices in his election? And where does the industry go from here?

The 2016 presidential election took a heavy toll on the vast army of journalists assigned to cover it, grinding down shoe leather, fingertips and nerve-endings in equal measure. But for one reporter, Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star, the race for the White House was singularly burdensome, turning him into a night owl.

At the end of each long day on the campaign trail, he would take a deep breath and launch into his second job: fact-checking the lies of Donald Trump. The work would begin late, often at 2am, when all was quiet and he could sink himself undisturbed into a hot bath of outrageous falsehood.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/nov/22/election-2016-donald-trump-media-coverage


Don’t call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her

Years of Republican plots, an opponent deified by television, and FBI smears stood in her way and she still won the popular vote by more than Kennedy did

Sometimes I think I have never seen anything as strong as Hillary Clinton. That doesnt mean that I like and admire everything about her. Im not here to argue about who she is, just to note what she did. I watched her plow through opposition and attacks the like of which no other candidate has ever faced and still win the popular vote. To defeat her it took an unholy cabal far beyond what Barack Obama faced when he was the campaign of change, swimming with the tide of disgust about the Bush administration. As the New York Times reported, By the time all the ballots are counted, she seems likely to be ahead by more than 2m votes and more than 1.5 percentage points. She will have won by a wider percentage margin than not only Al Gore in 2000 but also Richard Nixon in 1968 and John F Kennedy in 1960.

You can flip that and see that Trump was such a weak candidate it took decades of scheming and an extraordinary international roster of powerful players to lay the groundwork that made his election possible. Defeating Clinton in the electoral college took the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act by Republican appointees to the supreme court. It took vast Republican voter suppression laws and tactics set in place over many years. It took voter intimidation at many polling places. It took the long Republican campaign to blow up the boring bureaucratic irregularity of Clintons use of a private email server into a scandal that the media obediently picked up and reheated.

It took James Comey, the director of the FBI, using that faux-scandal and his power to stage a misleading smear attack on Clinton 11 days before the election in flagrant violation of the custom of avoiding such intervention for 60 days before an election. It took a compliant mainstream media running after his sabotage like a golden retriever chasing a tennis ball. It took decades of conservative attacks on the Clintons. Comey, incidentally, served as deputy GOP counsel to the Senate Whitewater committee, that fishing expedition that began with an investigation in a messy real estate deal in Arkansas before Bill Clintons presidency and ended with a campaign to impeach him on charges related to completely unrelated sexual activities during his second term.

It took a nearly decade-long reality TV show, The Apprentice, that deified Trumps cruelty, sexism, racism and narcissism as essential to success and power. As the feminist media critic Jennifer Pozner points out: Everything Trump said and did was framed in a way to flatter him, and more importantly, flatter his worldview. The colossal infomercial fictionalized the blundering, cheating businessman as an unqualified success and gave him a kind of brand recognition no other candidate had.

It took the full support of Fox News, whose CEO, Roger Ailes, was so committed to him that after leaving the company following allegations of decades of sexual abuse of employees, he joined the Trump campaign. It took the withdrawal of too many Americans from even that calibre of journalism into the partisan unreliability of faux-news sites and confirmation-bias bubbles of social media.

It took the mainstream medias quarter-century of failure to address climate change as the most important issue of our time. It took decades of most media outlets letting the fossil-fuel industrys propaganda arm create the false framework of two equally valid opinions rather than reporting the overwhelming scientific consensus and tremendous danger of climate change.

To stop Hillary Clinton it also took Julian Assange, using WikiLeaks as a tool of revenge, evidently considering his grudge against the Democratic nominee important enough to try to aid the campaign of a climate-denying racist authoritarian. Assange now appears to have so close a relationship with Russia that he often appears on the state-funded TV channel and news site RT. He tweeted protests when Russian president Vladimir Putins information was included in the Panama Papers hack and has been coy about where his leaked information on the Democratic National Committee came from.

Many intelligence experts say it came from Russian hackers, and Putin made it clear that he favored Trumps win. The day Comey dropped his bombshell, the New York Times ran a story reassuringly titled Investigating Donald Trump, FBI Sees No Clear Link to Russia with its own astounding, underplayed revelation buried inside: Investigators, the officials said, have become increasingly confident, based on the evidence they have uncovered, that Russias direct goal is not to support the election of Mr Trump, as many Democrats have asserted, but rather to disrupt the integrity of the political system and undermine Americas standing in the world more broadly.

And it took a shortsighted campaign of hatred on the left, an almost hysterical rage like nothing I have ever seen before about any public figure. Some uncritically picked up half-truths, outright fictions, and rightwing spin to feed their hate and rejected anything that diluted the purity and focus of that fury, including larger questions about the other candidate and the fate of the Earth. It was so extreme that in recent weeks, I was attacked for posting anti-Trump news stories on social media by furious people who took the position that to be overtly anti-Trump was to be covertly pro-Clinton. If the perfect is the enemy of the good, whose friend is it? The greater of two evils?

A lot of people seemed to think the Sanders-Clinton primary ended the night Trump was elected. I saw that stuckness from climate activists, anti-racist journalists, civil-rights champions, and others who you might expect would have turned to face the clear and present danger of a Trump presidency. I heard, for example, much about Clintons failure to address the Dakota pipeline adequately which was true, and bad, but overshadowed by what we heard so little about: Trumps million dollars or so invested in the pipeline and the guarantee he would use presidential powers to push it and every pipeline like it through.

Its impossible to disconnect the seething, irrational emotionality from misogyny, and the misogyny continues. Since election night, Ive been hearing too many men of the left go on and on about how Clinton was a weak candidate. Ive wondered about that word weak, not only because it is so often associated with women, but because what theyre calling her weakness was their refusal to support her. Its as if theyre saying, They sent a pink lifeboat and we sent it back, because we wanted a blue lifeboat, and now we are very upset that people are drowning.

Or, as my brilliant friend Aruna dSouza put it Wednesday: At some point soon we need to discuss whether Sanders would have been able to win, but helpful hint: today, it just sounds like youre saying: The Democrats should have cut into Trumps lead in the misogynist vote and the whitelash vote by running a white man. Lets come to terms with the racism and the misogyny first, before analyzing the what-ifs because otherwise were just going to replicate it forever. And if you think that the angry anti-establishment vote won (hence Sanders would have fared better), let me remind you that patriarchy and white supremacy are the cornerstones of the Establishment.

I know that if Clinton had been elected there would not be terrified and weeping people of color all over the country, small children too afraid to go to school, a shocking spike in hate crimes, high-school students with smashed dreams marching in cities across the country. I deplore some of Hillary Clintons past actions and alignments and disagreed with plenty of her 2016 positions. I hoped to be fighting her for the next four years. But I recognize the profound differences between her and Trump on race, gender, immigration and climate, and her extraordinary strength, tenacity and courage in facing and nearly overcoming an astonishing array of obstacles to win the popular vote. Which reminds us that Trump has no mandate and sets before us some of the forces arrayed against us.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/14/hillary-clinton-defeat-republicans-trump-comey


Mexicans on Trump’s election: ‘The power he has over us is terrifying’

We hear how the US president-elect is viewed on both sides of the border where he has promised to build a wall

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the border between the US and Mexico. After his electoral triumph over Hillary Clinton, many are wondering whether hell actually pull this off, or any of his other controversial pledges.

Mexicans, along with many other minorities in the US, were railed against by Trump during his campaign. In the run-up to the election, he vowed to rid the US of bad hombres. Yet despite this adding to his record of xenophobic language, Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.

The real estate billionaire promised to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) on grounds that it favoured Mexico at the expense of US workers. He has also threatened to tax the money sent home from the US by Mexican migrants to pay, in part, for the aforementioned wall.

We spoke to Mexicans in the US and Mexico about the election of Trump, and how they think his presidency might affect their lives. Heres what they said.

Americans underestimate the consequences that damaging our economic ties can have on them

I feel shocked, saddened, dismayed and deeply disappointed. As bad as that sounds, the worst part is feeling powerless. We dont have a say in an event that can have catastrophic consequences to our economy. In the US we are seen as collateral damage. Even those opposing Trump seem indifferent to the economic and human pain this situation can inflict on us.

I understand the economic pain that people in the rust belt are feeling. Successful trade agreements transfer some jobs from one country to another but are net job creators to all involved countries. Under Nafta, the US gained jobs in the south at the expense of the rust belt. Similarly, Mexicos north gained and the south has suffered, but this is the result of failed compensating measures within both countries. Nafta boosted wealth across the subcontinent. Cutting ties with Mexico will also harm the US. It surprises me that during the campaign no one pointed this out and Americans perceive that trade is a zero-sum game.

If, as president, Trump adopts a pragmatic stance, the damage can be limited to a further decline in my purchasing power owing to the peso devaluation and a difficult business environment while expectations are better anchored. If he feels obligated to deliver on the promises made to his voters and revokes Nafta, things could be much worse.

Our government has little leverage because Americans underestimate the consequences that damaging our economic ties can have on them. They are self absorbed and busy inflicting pain on one another.

Enrique, 53, Mexico City

Deportations of Mexicans … will probably send us into an even deeper recession

The power Trump has over us, over our economy, over our geography, our perception of our freedom of movement, over the way the world will see us is terrifying and he is not even the president yet.

Today we woke up to find the exchange rate at 20.50 pesos for the dollar. We went from 18.70 per dollar on election day, to 20.20 yesterday and 20.50 today. Its expected to reach 30 by the end of the year. We have been humiliated in front of the world.

The deportations of many Mexicans, who live and work in the United States, who send money home and who contribute tremendously in that way to our economy will probably send us into an even deeper recession.

We are more than willing to welcome in any American who wishes to make Mexico their home for the next four years, bring your families, come live here, bring your dollars, help us out. We are a friendly, welcoming country with amazing weather, fantastic food, great cities with interesting museums and landmarks and restaurants and cafes. We hope they will seriously consider it. That goes for British people who want to escape the post-Brexit UK.

In our collective imagination, the American democracy was something to aspire to. The spell has been broken in many ways. In Mexico, even the least educated among us believe this man to be a buffoon. His ideas are uninspired and poorly expressed, that his misogyny is worse than any machismo we have ever seen. We are surprised by how much and how many Americans love him, adore him.

We are now wondering where to turn to for inspiration and what way of life and ideology will now inspire us.

Is this America? we ask ourselves.

Flor, Mexico City

He has created a dangerous stereotype of Latinos in the US

I have a visa and I can travel throughout the US whenever I want, which is a lot. But I am concerned of the increase of hate or that as a result of the stereotype. I live in Cancn, a place visited by a lot of American tourists. I worry that they will think that I am undocumented, or that they think I am a drug dealer or a rapist.

It is not fair that a presidential candidate has blamed Mexico because of issues they have. He has created a dangerous stereotype of Latinos in the US. Yes, there are a lot of undocumented migrants, but a lot of us are living legally in the US.

Many drugs go the US through the Mexico border, but what they forget is the US is the first drug consumer worldwide. What they dont say is that they are in part responsible for the drug cartel violence in some areas.

In Mexico we make jokes about it. We now say that we are no longer the country with the stupidest president in the world.

Milton, Cancn

The silver lining is that Mexico perceives Trump as a common enemy

Factional politics in Mexico can find common ground to make front to his politics and maybe force the common efforts by different parties before the 2018 Mexican presidential election. I really hope Margarita Zavala will engage in alliances with other parties to win the presidency.

Mexico will suffer irremediably if Trump imposes tariffs on imports renegotiating Nafta for example or tax the remittances. The fiscal situation in Mexico is already strained owing to low oil prices and corrupt politicians with vast regions of the country in hands of narcos or organised crime. Trump adds chaos to the already dismal state of government with inept and corrupt politicians like President Enrique Pea Nieto and the foreign secretary, Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

Prices are going to soar, inflation and currency devaluation will spike making day-to-day expenses more difficult. Recession is already showing its claws and jobs cuts are on the rise in major banks as we speak.

The silver lining is that Mexico perceives Trump as a common enemy.

Federico, Mexico City

Hillary Clinton ended up being popular in the wrong country

At first it was a feeling of disbelief, then it was a surprise we did not stop laughing with all the irony. In Mexico those fear campaigns of the media work very well, its surprising that they wouldnt work at all in the US. All that money spent to promote Clinton and his hate campaign would have been used for something useful. Hillary Clinton ended up being popular in the wrong country.

Many things could change in Mexico. If Trump complies with the construction of his wall, good things could happen in Mexico. The reactivation of the local economy destroyed by Nafta, the reactivation of small businesses currently neutralised by big foreign corporations.

If the wall is also for the Mexican oligarchy, it could fall from power and give way to a leftwing government that Mexico needs so badly. The fall of the government without the support of Washingtons neoliberals would be wonderful.

I hope that Trump will comply in the destruction of Nafta and keep away US corporations and mining companies that have damaged our country so badly.

After that, I hope that he fulfils a good relationship with Mexico without interventionism or imperialism: simply keep away and in peace.

Chio, Mexico City

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/13/mexicans-on-trumps-election-the-power-he-has-over-us-is-terrifying


Paul Ryan lists Trump-era priorities as he insists Republicans have ‘mandate’

Speakers remarks at odds with president-elect as Trump tells CBS he plans to deport as many as three million people and fence may replace sections of wall

The wall that Donald Trump has promised to build on the US-Mexico border may in part be some fencing, the president-elect said in an interview released on Sunday, as the top Republican already in Washington hinted at disagreements and uncertainties for how they intend to govern together.

In an interview with CBSs 60 Minutes, Trump said there could be some fencing in his proposed wall, which would span nearly 2,000 miles and cost billions. On the campaign trail he promised that the barrier would be exclusively built of hardened concrete, rebar and steel.

Im very good at this, he told CBS. Its called construction.

Also on Sunday, Paul Ryan, speaker of the House and the lawmaker poised to write sweeping new legislation for the Republican-controlled government, said he believed his party had a mandate to reshape healthcare, taxes, regulations and border security for the Trump administration.

Discrepancies between Trumps promises and Ryans plans, however, suggested that the president-elect and his future Congress do not yet know how they will make such changes.

Ryan insisted, for instance, that Trumps priority would not be the mass deportation of millions of undocumented migrants.

That is not what our focus is, we are focused on securing the border before we get on any immigration, Ryan told CNNs State of the Union. We are not planning on erecting a deportation force, Donald Trumps not planning on that.

Trump has repeatedly promised a deportation force and in August said: Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone! In his CBS interview, he said he would deport as many as 3 million people.

What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate, Trump said.

But were getting them out of our country, theyre here illegally.

In June, Ryan broke with Trump over a proposed ban on Muslims entering the US. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, one of the president-elects advisers, said the ban would now be imposed on a country-by-country basis.

The ban would be restricted to particular countries, the former New York mayor told CNN, naming Syria and Yemen. All the rest from countries that contain dangerous populations, they would be subject to extreme vetting.

Giuliani suggested the US could work with regimes in Egypt and Pakistan for pretty good vetting, but not a complete ban.

Speaker Ryan also said the Republican party, which until last year largely supported Barack Obamas free trade agenda with Asia, was not entirely behind Trumps promises to impose high tariffs on countries such as China and Mexico.

Not tariffs, not trade wars, Ryan said, instead saying he wanted to fix our taxes on border adjustments.

He maintained that the party would find common ground with the new president, saying: Hes trying to make America more competitive.

Ryan echoed Trump in suggesting that the party intended to keep some parts of Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act, while repealing the healthcare law itself.

A full repeal could mean as many as 20 million people losing health insurance. Ryan told CNN that people 26 and younger could, according to his proposals, stay on their parents plan, and that Congress would need to have a solution for pre-existing conditions. He also said the party would propose refundable tax credits that would lower the cost of coverage.

We would have a healthcare system in America where everyone, regardless of income and position, he said, would get to buy what you want to buy, not what the government is making you buy.

But Ryan refused to answer questions about whether women would still be able to have birth control covered.

Im not going to get into all the nitty gritty details about these things, he said, adding, Im not going to get into hypotheticals about legislation that hasnt even been written yet.

Giuliani also insisted that Trump would have no conflicts of interest in office, even if he hands control of his sprawling, international business to three of his children, who have acted as his closest advisers.

Once he gets into government they will not be they will not be advising, Giuliani said. There will have to be a wall between them with regard to government matters.

Ryan also expressed confidence in Trump and his entourage, which includes Steve Bannon, a former investor and far-right media chief executive whose website, Breitbart, has trafficked in openly racist, sexist, homophobic and antisemitic writing.

Ive never met the guy. Ive never met Steve Bannon, Ryan said. So I have no concerns. I trust Donald Trump.

I believe that Donald is going to have a great set of choices to make for staffing [the White House], Ryan continued. Hes a successful person, he surrounds himself with successful people. So Im confident hes going to do the same here.

He denounced the perpetrators of hate crimes and racist graffiti that have been reported since Trumps victory, saying: They are not Republicans and we dont want them.

We are pluralistic, we are inclusive, and will continue to be. I really think people should put their minds at ease.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/13/paul-ryan-donald-trump-republicans-mandate


Jobless, jaded, and voting for Trump in Ohio: ‘Hell be different, in some way’

David Brunelle, 50, has spent a life in manufacturing in Ohio, but hes now unemployed and hes gunning for Donald Trump to shake things up

A generation ago, a man like David Brunelle would probably be working through the autumn of a long career for the same manufacturer in north-eastern Ohio. A Democrat like Hillary Clinton could probably count on his vote.

But having worked for eight companies since he was 18, Brunelle has now been without a full-time job for about eight months. His 50th birthday came and went in May. He tries to stay cheerful, but hes tired, and he voted for Donald Trump.

There is just constant change, Brunelle said. Its always changing, merging, closing, takeovers and restructuring.

US presidential election: five scenarios

Brunelle is not even confident that Trump would follow through on his quixotic pledges to revive heavy industry in the midwest by rewriting international trade deals, punishing companies for moving jobs overseas and declaring economic war on China.

But hell be different, Brunelle, who lives in the tiny town of Atwater, said hopefully. Hell be different, in some way or another.

It is with the support of voters such as Brunelle, who feel belittled rather than empowered by globalisation, that Trump hopes to wrest Ohio back into the Republican column on Tuesday. After a late surge in polls, Trump holds a 2.2% lead in the RealClearPolitics average. The state has backed the winner at every presidential election since 1960, when it picked Richard Nixon over John F Kennedy.

David
David Brunelle.

Once-proud rust belt cities that have been Democratic strongholds for decades appear to be within the real estate developers reach. Only eight years ago, 86% of presidential primary voters in Youngstown and the surrounding Mahoning County, for instance, were Democrats and just 14% were Republicans. This year, the split was 51-49.

Under Barack Obama, Ohios economy has recovered steadily from the 2008 recession. The number of manufacturing jobs in the state has actually ticked up slightly in recent years, after falling sharply and consistently under the administration of George W Bush.

Trump has, however, relentlessly claimed that the sectors decades-long structural decline was somehow caused directly by Clinton and her husband, Bill, who was president when the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which was signed by his predecessor, came into force.

The Republican nominee has turned the trade pact into a shorthand for one of the central themes of his campaign: that leaders in Washington, supposedly incapable of standing up to canny foreigners, have left US workers exposed to the ravages of international competition without protection.

Every time you see a closed factory or wiped out community in Ohio, it was essentially caused by the Clintons, Trump said at a rally in Springfield last month.

However untrue, the message has resonated deeply with workers such as Brunelle, who long for the stability enjoyed by their parents and grandparents.

Because of global competition, we have to compete with second- and third-rate countries around the world, he said, noting that he and his friends discuss Nafta quite a bit these days.

Until last year, Brunelle managed a plant in the town of Bedford for Production Pattern, a company which makes moulds for vehicles. But the firm was buffeted by competition from China, he said, where companies could sell finished moulds for less than the cost of the materials he and his colleagues were using to make them. Some jobs at Brunelles plant were moved out of state and others went overseas, he said. Brunelle lost his position, which paid him $70,000 a year.

Before that, Brunelle was a plant manager for Water Star, a hi-tech manufacturer in Newbury, Ohio. The firm makes anodes and cathodes that are used to purify and treat water. But then Water Star was bought by Tennant, a commercial cleaning company from Minnesota, which wanted the technology for its floor scrubbers. Brunelle lost his job.

As he wandered around a state-sponsored jobs fair in Akron on Monday, Brunelle winced at the sort of positions on offer at many of the stands.

Packing boxes of potato chips on the midnight shift for $30,000 a year. Helping gamblers use video slot machines at an out-of-town mega-casino for $10 an hour plus tips. Serving sandwiches in a popular fast-food outlet for $9 an hour.

Brunelle is a smart man. He knows the arguments in favor of globalisation, knows how difficult it would be for any president to turn back the clock. But as he sets off to wander the aisles for a few more minutes while employers begin dismantling their stalls, its just difficult to take.

In the long term, maybe it is good for the world economy, he said. But we have to go down for the rest of them to go up. And it hurts.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/08/donald-trump-ohio-vote-republicans-jobs


Will Trump’s former neighborhood vote for him? ‘Unequivocally, absolutely not’

Employees of the private school he attended and residents of the upper-middle-class neighborhood where he grew up express concern about the GOP nominee

In his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump recalled punching his second-grade music teacher in the face: Because I didnt think he knew anything about music.

The alleged recipient of the punch, who taught Trump at the private Kew-Forest school in Queens, New York, would later insist it never happened.

Even so, it seems Trump is still an unpopular figure among the schools staff.

I dont think any of us that work here are proud that he went here, one employee told the Guardian on Monday morning.

The woman requested anonymity because some of the parents here are gung-ho for Trump. She said she did not plan to vote for Kew-Forests most famous alumnus.

Unequivocally, absolutely not. Because of who he is. His stance on women, on immigrants, on vets, on the disabled, and just Trump as a person, she said.

Trumps father pulled him out of the Kew-Forest school when he was 13 years old after numerous misdemeanors. Trump was sent to the New York military academy, located 70 miles north in Cornwall-on-Hudson, in upstate New York.

For Trump it meant leaving behind both his school and the Trump family home, located in the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Jamaica Estates.

Donald
Donald Trumps childhood home in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

If that experience was jarring for the teenage Trump, a jarring experience for the septuagenarian Trump might be learning that he isnt very popular in his old neighborhood.

The shit hes said its just so disrespectful, said Steven Morello, a 19-year-old college student. He lives around half a mile from the old Trump homestead.

Like getting rid of all the Muslims. I know its not going to happen, hes not going to get all Muslims kicked out. But still.

Morello said that a lot of Muslims live in Jamaica Estates. The neighborhood was whiter when Trump was growing up here, but 45% of residents were foreign-born according to the 2000 census, with substantial Bangladeshi, Filipino and Haitian populations.

Trumps childhood home was built by his real estate mogul father and is still standing, although it is no longer in the Trump family. The home, on Midland Parkway, is a two-story redbrick with four large white columns on front of the porch. It has 23 rooms and nine bathrooms, according to the New York Times.

No one answered the door on Monday, although a Range Rover was parked in the driveway.

Like many houses in the neighborhood, Trumps former residence is vaulted on the street, with stairs winding up to the doorway. The imposing white columns are a typically extravagant detail adorning many houses in the neighborhood.

Jamaica
Jamaica Estates, where Donald Trump grew up. Photograph: Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

Down from the old Trump place theres a house with a huge spire on one corner, and a stone folly on the lawn. Opposite, one home has a 20ft glass window looming over the street. One house had a courtyard. Many had lamps designed to look like old-fashioned gas lights.

There were few people walking around Midland Parkway. The only real signs of life were landscaping trucks. It seemed Monday was lawn maintenance day, with five separate crews blowing leaves off lawns.

One crew was working on the house next to Trumps former home. A man named Miguel, who was unloading a lawn-mower from a trailer, was surprised to learn Trump had grown up in the area. He described Trump as no good.

He doesnt like Mexicans, Miguel said. He said he was from Guatemala and wont be voting as he doesnt have papers.

There were no Trump signs on the businessmans childhood street, although it seemed as if the neighborhood was doing its best to ignore the election altogether.

The Guardian only saw one Clinton sign, and not many people in the area were keen to talk about Trump. Even if they were aware that he was from the neighborhood.

Oh, I know exactly where he grew up, said a man called Jean, who asked his last name not be used. He said he lived in the neighborhood, although not on Midland Parkway itself.

Im not voting for either of them, Jean, 61, said. One of them is a liar. The other is crazy.

Jean said he believed Trump to be the crazy one. He took issue with Trumps stance on immigration.

Its a country that was based on immigration. How can you ban people coming in? Its impossible to do it.

Jean said he was originally from Haiti. The Guardian asked how he felt about Trumps comments on Hispanic people.

It hurts, Jean said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/07/donald-trump-jamaica-estates-new-york-election-day


Death, marijuana and condoms: a complete guide to US ballot questions

Besides voting for president and other elected officials, there are more than 150 statewide measures on Americans ballots Tuesday. Here are some key issues

American democracy is tortuously indirect. On Tuesday, citizens will not exactly cast their ballots for the first female nominee of a major party or a real estate developer turned reality TV star, but for generally unknown candidates who are members of the electoral college: the people who will cast votes for president sometime in December.

But when it comes to the really important issues life, death, marijuana and condoms direct democracy rules the day. There are more than 150 statewide measures on the ballot on 8 November, and scores more city- and countywide initiatives for voters to decide on.

Here are some of the key issues that voters will address on election day.

Marijuana

Marijuana
Nine states will vote on legalizing pot on election day. Photograph: Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images

We talk a lot about red states and blue states, but come Tuesday, the entire west coast could go green. California, Arizona and Nevada will vote on whether to join Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska in legalizing recreational marijuana use. Maine and Massachusetts are also voting on recreational marijuana measures. Four other states will vote on whether to join the 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana.

California, the worlds sixth-largest economy, is the real prize here. Analysts already put the size of the states legal marijuana market at $2.7bn and project it could grow to $6.4bn by 2020.

Solar power and carbon tax

Two key climate-related ballot measures with wildly different objectives will take place on the east and west coasts of the US on Tuesday.

In Florida, a proposition called Amendment 1 would change the states constitution to restrict the ability of homeowners to sell electricity they create through rooftop solar panels to the grid. The measure, backed by Floridas large utilities, has been attacked as fundamentally dishonest by green groups because it appears to be superficially pro-solar. Energy experts have predicted a severe downturn in Floridas already struggling solar industry, should the measure pass.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/07/americans-voting-ballot-initiatives-marijuana-death-penalty-condoms


A life in pictures: Donald Trump

A look at Trumps rise from real estate mogul, billionaire and TV personality to Republican presidential nominee

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/gallery/2016/nov/06/donald-trump-photos-childhood-presidential-campaign


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