News / USA

    Trump Stirs Interest as US Presidential Contender

    Real estate developer Donald Trump, left, and George Ramishvili, Chairman of Silk Road Group, talk following a news conference in New York, March 10, 2011
    Real estate developer Donald Trump, left, and George Ramishvili, Chairman of Silk Road Group, talk following a news conference in New York, March 10, 2011

    In U.S. politics, recent public opinion polls show New York real estate mogul Donald Trump is surging into contention among Republicans looking for a presidential candidate for next year’s election. Trump said he will decide on a presidential bid by June, but the possibility of a Trump candidacy is exciting some Republicans who find the current crop of potential candidates lacking.

    Trump has two things other Republican presidential candidates would love to have, money and name recognition.

    Trump says his real estate business in New York is worth billions of dollars and his highly rated television show, The Apprentice, has made him a celebrity.

    Now, Trump is creating headlines because he is considering a run for president next year, and some recent polls show him surging. Several have shown him near the top of the as-yet-unannounced Republican field. One survey done by Public Policy Polling had Trump in the lead, followed by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

    Trump has been doing a round of interviews with U.S. television networks and told NBC’s Today program that much of what is wrong with the U.S. economy at the moment, including the high cost of gasoline, can be traced overseas.

    "The world is just destroying our country. These other countries are just sapping our strength. OPEC is sapping our strength. Let the other countries worry about themselves," said Trump.

    Trump also has been critical of U.S. trade deals with several countries and said he would take a tougher line with China, which he singles out as the top U.S. economic rival.

    "I would say we are going to put a 25 percent tax on all your products coming in and that is going to do a number of things. Number one, as soon as they believe it is going to happen, they will behave so nicely because it is going to destroy their economy."

    Political experts believe Trump also is surging among conservatives because he questions the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, which was issued by the state of Hawaii in 1961.

    Trump said he has private investigators looking at the birth certificate issue in Hawaii, even though state officials have confirmed the authenticity of the documents in question, and despite the fact that two local newspapers printed birth announcements within days of Obama’s birthday.

    Some Republicans have criticized Trump’s focus on the Obama birth issue and argued it is a distraction from the daunting economic problems facing the country.

    Trump’s flirtation with a candidacy also is drawing attention away from lesser-known Republicans who may launch a campaign this year, including former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

    In addition, Trump may be gaining ground because many Republicans appear unenthusiastic about the field of potential candidates considering a run next year. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found only 43 percent of Republican voters satisfied with the current choice of possible contenders, well down from this point in the 2008 election cycle.

    But the same poll also had troubling news for Obama. Only 47 percent of those surveyed approve of the job the president is doing at the moment, and 57 percent disapprove of the way he is handling the domestic economy.

    Presidential incumbents generally have the advantage when seeking re-election. Analysts say that a weak national economy, however, could lead to a close presidential race next year if the Republicans can settle on a candidate who can unite conservatives and still appeal to centrist voters.

    John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington was a guest on VOA’s Encounter program. He made this observation: "If the election were held soon and you had a competent Republican candidate, I think you would say 'well, I think it is going to be an awfully close election and it is really hard to know.'  Incumbent presidents have some advantages, but I don’t think it would be an easy call to figure out which party would win."

    Since World War II, only two elected U.S. presidents have been defeated for re-election, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992. In both cases, voter concern about the economy was a major factor.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora