Even for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick has an expansive view of presidential power: ANALYSIS, the distance is still fun to think about, up here in his penthouse 600 ft. The ice skaters swarming Central Park’s Wollman Rink look like old-television static, and the Fifth Avenue holiday shoppers could be mites in a gutter.
This is, in short, not a natural place to refine the common touch. It’s gilded and gaudy, a dreamscape of faded tapestry, antique clocks and fresco-style ceiling murals of gym-rat Greek gods. The throw pillows carry the Trump shield, and the paper napkins are monogrammed with the family name. President-elect Donald Trump photographed at his penthouse on the 66th floor of Trump Tower in New York City on Nov. And yet here Trump resides, under dripping crystal, with diamond cuff links, as the President-elect of the United States of America. The Secret Service agents milling about prove that it really happened, this election result few saw coming.
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Hulking and serious, they gingerly try to stay on the marble, avoiding the carpets with their uncovered shoes. For all of Trump’s public life, tastemakers and intellectuals have dismissed him as a vulgarian and carnival barker, a showman with big flash and little substance. But what those critics never understood was that their disdain gave him strength. For years, he fed off the disrespect and used it to grab more tabloid headlines, to connect to common people. Now he has upended the leadership of both major political parties and effectively shifted the political direction of the international order. And yet I represent the workers of the world.
The late Fidel Castro would probably spit out his cigar if he heard that one—a billionaire who branded excess claiming the slogans of the proletariat. Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the struggling Rust Belt necklace around the Great Lakes that delivered his victory. For nearly 17 months on the campaign trail, Trump did what no American politician had attempted in a generation, with defiant flair. Instead of painting a bright vision for a unified future, he magnified the divisions of the present, inspiring new levels of anger and fear within his country. Whatever you think of the man, this much is undeniable: he uncovered an opportunity others didn’t believe existed, the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman.
Now it’s difficult to count all the ways Trump remade the game: the huckster came off more real than the scripted political pros. The cable-news addict made pollsters look like chumps. The fabulist out-shouted journalists fighting to separate fact from falsehood. The demagogue won more Latino and black votes than the 2012 Republican nominee.
Trump found a way to woo white evangelicals by historic margins, even winning those who attend religious services every week. Despite boasting on video of sexually assaulting women, he still found a way to win white females by 9 points. The starting point for his success, which can be measured with just tens of thousands of votes, was the most obvious recipe in politics. He identified the central issue motivating the American electorate and then convinced a plurality of the voters in the states that mattered that he was the best person to bring change.
Since the bungled Iraq War faded into the rearview mirror, there has been only one defining issue in American presidential politics, spanning party and ideology. President-elect Trump in the living room of his three-story penthouse on the 66th floor of Trump Tower in New York City on Nov. President Barack Obama identified it early, back in 2005, as a newly elected Senator delivering a commencement speech at tiny Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. You know what this new challenge is. It’s as if someone changed the rules in the middle of the game and no one bothered to tell these folks. As Obama explained it, the American promise was being put up on cinder blocks, buttressed by massive economic forces. His vow, repeated in his final 30-minute-long television ad in 2008, was change for the struggling, help for those who needed it, security for the ones who felt themselves slipping.
Four years later, he would return to the same playbook to defeat Mitt Romney, casting the Republican nominee as an obtuse private-equity moneybags aiming to bankrupt Detroit. But Obama never fully delivered the prosperity he promised. There was certainly help on the margins, slowing cost growth for health care and providing insurance to millions, for example. He started some pilot projects for manufacturing hubs, increased incomes marginally in the past couple of years and led the nation to recover from a vicious recession, with the federal government directly creating or saving millions of jobs.
The most recently available data tells the remarkable story: between 2001 and 2012, the median incomes of households headed by people without college degrees—nearly two-thirds of all homes—fell as they aged, according to research by Robert Shapiro, an economist who advised Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. As American productivity and gross domestic product grew in the first decade of the new century, median wages for all Americans broke away, effectively flatlining. 2007 and 2013, according to research by Branko Milanovic, a former World Bank economist. If you lived in the nation’s great cities or held a college degree, you probably didn’t feel the full fury of these forces. Global change is tricky that way. It enriches those in the developed world who can handle bits and bytes, create something new or sell their work at a distance. But for the working men and women of developed countries, many of whom had made good livings in the 20th century, the price of others’ success could be seen all around, in peeling house paint and closed storefronts, in towns that went belly-up when one of the two big employers closed shop.
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The pressures pushed across the Atlantic Ocean. The reasons for the shifts are more complex than the simple offshoring of manufacturing plants to Mexico or China. Global trade and new technology also pressure wages on jobs beyond the assembly line. When combined with rising health-insurance costs and incessant shareholder demands, companies found themselves unable or unwilling to give raises. But properly diagnosing the problem doesn’t help much if you live in a place that has taken it on the chin. In Shiawassee County, Michigan, which sits like a pit stop between Flint and Lansing, Obama won comfortably in 2008 and by a narrow margin in 2012.
Then Trump tromped to victory this year with a 20-point margin. Mengel says of the Obama years. It doesn’t make the car or house payments. When a friend bought him a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hat this year, Mengel took to wearing it everywhere he went. Hillary Clinton would carry Michigan, because he can’t remember ever sitting down with a group of five or six people and finding more than one for her.
She just talked bad about Trump. First he needed to define the bad guys. Such voices were easy to find in central Michigan, northeast Pennsylvania and western Wisconsin in the days after the election. Here were historically Democratic counties that Obama had won twice, only to see Trump then win comfortably. They are mostly white parts of the country, with struggling Main Streets and low college-graduation rates, where the local beauty salons do better business than the car dealers. Joseph Dougherty, a former Democratic mayor of Nanticoke, Pa.
He was one of many in Luzerne County, a gorgeous river valley of rolling hills and former coal mines, who had lost patience. Trump cleared 78,000 votes in these hills, 20,000 more than Romney. The Democratic Party forgot about its base. Economists looking at the voting patterns since Election Day have been able to draw clear correlations between the local effects of international trade and voter angst. In counties where Chinese imports grew between 2002 and 2014, the vote for Trump increased over the vote George W. For every percentage-point increase in imports, the economists found an average 2-point increase for the Republican nominee. In some places, the shift was even steeper.
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The message of renewed protectionism, new tariffs and scrapped trade agreements broke through. David Autor, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, who co-authored the study. It’s hard to find any trained economist who believes that’s possible, at least in the terms Trump uses. The supply chains are too broadly dispersed, the pricing efficiencies too embedded in our lives, the robots too cost-effective. But Trump’s improvement on Obama’s sales pitch was never about the details. He communicated on a deeper level, something he has done all his life.
His was not a campaign about the effects of tariffs on the price of batteries or basketball shoes. He spoke only of winning and losing, us and them, the strong and the weak. Trump is a student of the tabloids, a master of television. He had moonlighted as a professional wrestler.
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He knew how to win the crowd. 1, just weeks after his victory, Trump traveled to Indiana to announce that United Technologies, the 45th largest company in the country, had agreed to his demands and would retain 800 Carrier manufacturing jobs in Indianapolis. This mostly fulfilled a campaign promise he had made after the factory became national news when video shot inside showed the despair of workers discovering their work was headed to Mexico. Three days earlier, Trump met with TIME in his towering dining room. 7 million in state tax breaks, presidential threats and promises of tax and regulatory reform. But it was still a secret. His running mate, former Indiana governor Mike Pence, declined to discuss the deal when a reporter ran into him in Trump’s high-rise kitchen.
But Trump could not stop himself. For both conservative and liberal ideologues, including Sarah Palin and Bernie Sanders, the deal Trump struck with Carrier was an abomination, an example of government using taxpayer money to pick winners and losers. But as Trump told the story in his tower, ideology had nothing to do with it. This was just another tale of a little guy getting his voice heard. NBC’s Lester Holt had introduced a segment on the Carrier plant featuring a union representative and a plant worker talking in a bar. We want you to do what you said you were going to do. I said, I never said they weren’t going to move, to myself.
But of course he had, as the news segment demonstrated. So Trump says he had no choice. He had to listen to his people. And I called up the head of United Technologies.
Shortly after he spoke those words, Reince Priebus, the next White House chief of staff, walked into the room. With the tape recorders rolling, Trump began to issue new instructions. He was talking as if he had just realized—at that moment, in the middle of an interview—that he had the power to do what he promised to do on the campaign trail. But it was just a show. At that point, Trump had already had a similar talk with Bill Ford of Ford Motor Co. This is the presidency as improv, as performance art, with good guys, bad guys and suspense.
It’s a new thing for the United States of America. The reporters in the room, the voters who will read this article, the nation, the world—we are the audience. A quick study who grew up in Kenosha, Wis. Priebus is far too Midwestern to be mistaken for a showman. But he got what Trump was trying to do, and smiled. History will record that Clinton foresaw the economic forces that allowed Trump to win. What she and her team never fully understood was the depth of the populism Trump was peddling, the idea that the elites were arrayed against regular people, and that he, the great man, the strong man, the offensive man, the disruptive man, the entertaining man, could remake the physics of an election.
You cannot underestimate the role of the backlash against political correctness—the us vs. Kellyanne Conway, who worked as Trump’s final campaign manager. We always felt comfortable that when people were criticizing him for being so outspoken, the American voters were hearing him too. The picture of voters was much the same as the one he had described to Obama in 2008 and 2012. That message anchored the launch of Clinton’s campaign, and it was woven through her three debate performances. But in the closing weeks, she shifted to something else. No presidential candidate in American history had done or said so many outlandish and offensive things as Trump.
He cheered when protesters got hit at his rallies, used sexist insults for members of the press, argued that an American judge should be disqualified from a case because of his Mexican heritage. Mexico who murdered Americans in cold blood. His rhetoric had in fact opened up a new public square, where racists and misogynists could boast of their views and claim themselves validated. And to further enrage many Americans, Trump regularly peddled falsehoods, without offering any evidence, and then refused to back down from his claims. He promised to sue the dozen women who came forward to say they had been sexually mistreated by him over the years. He said he might not accept the outcome of the election if it did not go his way.
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For a Clinton campaign aiming to re-create Obama’s winning coalitions, all of this proved too large a target to pass up. Clinton had proved to be a subpar campaigner, so with the FBI restarting and reclosing a criminal investigation into her email habits, her closing message focused on a moral argument about Trump’s character. Philadelphia, the night before the election. We know enough about my opponent. The strategy worked, in a way. 5 million more votes than Trump, and on Election Day, more than 6 in 10 voters told exit pollsters that Trump lacked the temperament for the job of President. But the strategy also placed Clinton too far away from the central issue in the nation: the steady decline of the American standard of living.
She lost the places that mattered most. Stanley Greenberg, the opinion-research guru for Bill Clinton in 1992, put out a poll around Election Day and found clear evidence that Clinton’s decision to divert her message from the economy in the final weeks cost her the decisive vote in the Rust Belt. The irony of this conclusion is profound. By seeking to condemn the dark side of politics, Clinton’s campaign may have accidently validated it.
By believing in the myth that Obama’s election represented a permanent shift for the nation, they proved it was ephemeral. In the end, Trump reveled in these denunciations, which helped him market to his core supporters his determination to smash the existing elite. The former head of Breitbart, Stephen Bannon has pushed for a darker, more divisive populism, publishing articles that stirred racial animus. He will be a senior adviser at the White House.
The Rabble-Rouser: The former head of Breitbart, Stephen Bannon has pushed for a darker, more divisive populism, publishing articles that stirred racial animus. This is the method of a demagogue. The more the elites denounced his transgressions, the more his growing movement felt validated. Shortly after the campaign, Trump tweeted that 3 million votes had been cast illegally on Nov.
8, a false claim for which he has offered no hard evidence. But when asked about it in his penthouse, he seems eager to talk about the controversy he stirred. In the dining room, a TIME reporter reads to Trump one of Obama’s oft-stated quotes about trying to appeal to the country’s better angels and to fight its tribal instincts. Trump promptly stops the interview in its tracks. The human brain is wired for anecdote, not analysis, and Trump’s whole career is a testament to this insight. He returns a few minutes later with that morning’s copy of Newsday, the Long Island tabloid.
GANG FACTION, with an article about a surge of local crime by foreign-born assailants. His point, it seems, is that the world is zero-sum, full of the irredeemable killers that Obama’s idealism fails to see. The details are more compelling than any big picture. A reporter mentions that what Trump is saying echoes the rhetoric of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen the extrajudicial killing of thousands of alleged drug dealers and users in recent months. The President-elect offers no objection to the comparison. They slice them up, they carve their initials in the girl’s forehead, O.
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What are we supposed to do? A year from now, when Trump travels to the U. Trump is all but rooting for it. A lot of people reject some of the ideas that are being forced on them. And that’s certainly one of the reasons you had this vote, having to do not with the European Union but the same thing. In this view, Trump will find common cause with Vladimir Putin, the authoritarian President of Russia who, like Trump, seeks to challenge diplomatic and democratic norms.
For reasons that remain unclear, Trump still refuses to acknowledge the U. He has also so far refused to acknowledge established diplomatic boundaries. When the Pakistani government gave a long, apparently verbatim readout of its President’s call with Trump, India’s leaders reacted with strained nerves. Then Trump accepted a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, intentionally discarding a policy enforced since Jimmy Carter, which prompted an official complaint from China. As he proved in the campaign, there are sometimes few negative consequences in politics for offending or painting a false picture of reality. History suggests the same is less true in international relations, where the stakes are not just votes at the ballot box but also the movement of armies and the lives of citizens. Among the tight circle that has formed around Trump, one can sense some unease as they try to navigate a mercurial boss to a successful first term.
Just a day earlier, Conway had gone on television to suggest that picking Romney, an old Trump foe, for Secretary of State was a terrible idea. Some Trump aides told reporters that this amounted to a betrayal of the boss, who had not yet made up his mind. Trump seemed to enjoy the spectacle. Otherwise I would have called her up. White House chief of staff, acting as a bridge to the Washington establishment. Kellyanne Conway became his campaign manager in August.
She is known for her blunt advice, sometimes through TV appearances. The Reconciler: After serving as Republican chair during the chaotic campaign, Reince Priebus will become Trump’s first White House chief of staff, acting as a bridge to the Washington establishment. The Trump Whisperer: A former resident of one of Trump’s buildings, pollster Kellyanne Conway became his campaign manager in August. Trump has tried to curtail some of his own bravado since the campaign. Guys, I’m for everybody in this country.
Last year, Trump boasted about the great instincts that led him to support forced deportation for all undocumented immigrants and a ban on Muslims from entering the country. He has since backed off both positions. Trump claims that his unpredictability will be his strength in office. It certainly has left the political world guessing.
He has so far refused to describe how he will separate himself from the conflict of owning a company and employing his children who do regular business with foreigners. While Trump offered public words of support for the Iraq War at the time, he sees George W. Bush’s great adventure as a disaster now. He rejects wholesale the social conservative campaign to keep transgender people out of the bathrooms they choose, but promises to reward conservative ideologues with a Supreme Court Justice of their liking. He also suggests that some stock analysts may have misread his intentions. Trump’s election, a rally of relief that the price controls Clinton had proposed would not happen. But Trump says his goal has not wavered.
I don’t like what has happened with drug prices. As for the people who were brought to the U. Trump did not back off his pledge to end Obama’s executive orders. But he made clear he would like to find some future accommodation for them. They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. A devout evangelical Christian and a former leader in the U. Mike Pence will help Trump navigate the agendas of conservative lawmakers and activists.
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The True Believer: A devout evangelical Christian and a former leader in the U. The truth is no one really knows what is going to happen, up to and including the occupants of Trump Tower. Trump says, as the country still tries to come to terms with what he accomplished. Hopefully we can take some of the drama out. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Following a President who prided himself on sifting drama through the sieve of careful consideration, Trump’s methods, for better and worse, tend to be closer to the opposite. And this is now Trump’s America to run, a victory made possible either because of historical inevitability or individual brilliance, or some combination of the two.
It’s an America with rising stock markets despite the tremors of a trade war. A country where a few jobs saved makes up, in the moment, for the thousands still departing. This is a land where a man will stand up in a plane headed to Allentown, Pa. We got some Hillary bitches on here? He’s your President, every goddamn one of you! It’s a country where many who felt powerless have a new champion, where much frustration has given way to excitement and where politics has become the greatest show on earth. Here men in combat helmets and military assault rifles now patrol the streets outside a golden residential tower in midtown Manhattan.
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In 1964, a book entitled The Invisible Government shocked Americans with its revelations of a growing world of intelligence agencies playing fast and loose around the planet, a secret government lodged inside the one they knew that even the president didn’t fully control. Almost half a century later, everything about that “invisible government” has grown vastly larger, more disturbing, and far more visible. In 2008, when the US National Intelligence Council issued its latest report meant for the administration of newly elected President Barack Obama, it predicted that the planet’s “sole superpower” would suffer a modest decline and a soft landing fifteen years hence. The first history of drone warfare, written as it happened. From the opening missile salvo in the skies over Afghanistan in 2001 to a secret strike in the Philippines early this year, or a future in which drones dogfight off the coast of Africa, Terminator Planet takes you to the front lines of combat, Washington war rooms, and beyond.