News India Times – that’s all you need to know Opinion News India Times November 25, 2022 4 Trump Is On The Defensive For The First Time In Years W e’re used to watching Donald Trump going on offense. In announcing that he will run for president once more, though, Trump sound- ed unusually defensive. Last week’s midterm elections, he suggested, had gone well for Republicans, giving them control of the House, and would have gone even better if only the American public fully understood how dire the country’s condition is. For the first time in years, Trump is running against prevailing Republican emotions. Most Republicans are upset about the election results, which include the loss of governorships and possibly a Senate seat. The leading explanation for the Republican disappointments is that they’re Trump’s fault: He picked “low quality” candidates in crucial races. Widespread acceptance of that idea has led a lot of Republicans, even ones who backed him strongly in the past, to say or signal that the party should find a new leader. This blame-Trump narrative is oversimplified. Trump didn’t select the candidates; Republican primary vot- ers did. And they had shown a weakness for candidates who are better at getting attention than votes long before Trump rode down his escalator. Remember when Her- man Cain led the polls for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011? That moment ended only when several women accused him of sexual harassment, a rev- elation that may have come to light earlier if he had made credible runs for office before. The truer, more complicated story doesn’t make Trump look any better. His success in 2016 encouraged the as- sumption that the usual laws of political gravity no longer applied. Outrageous statements and scandals, a lack of what had previously been considered qualifications for office, even unpopularity: None of this mattered any more. The seeming overthrow of the old rules encouraged runs by candidates who would not have attempted them before, and encouraged primary voters to support them. As it turned out, however, breaking the old rules still cost candidates votes in general elections. Trump won in 2016 even though he was the least popular major-party nominee in U.S. history only because his opponent, Hill- ary Clinton, was the second-least-popular. Nominating a slate of candidates who had never run for lower offices, who took positions far from the median voter, and whose resumes included multiple scandals didn’t pay off for Republicans in 2022. Neither did selecting candidates based on their willingness to indulge Trump’s lies about how the 2020 election was stolen from him by fraud. Most voters don’t believe this bit of Trump mythology, and Republicans who have won statewide in politically competitive states - people such as Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona and Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire - were not willing to endorse it. The candidates who agreed that Trump had won in 2020, or pretended to, didn’t just look disconnected from reality and potentially dangerous for democracy. They also looked weak, as though they were more interested in pleasing Trump than in either serving the voters or being themselves. Before the election, Republicans and Demo- crats debated whether voters would care more about in- flation or abortion. Avenging Trump’s victimhood turned out to be much lower on voters’ priority list than either. Voters who “somewhat disapprove” of the president’s performance usually vote heavily for the other party in midterm elections. This time, they backed those Republi- cans who met the threshold test of acceptability. But they voted against Republicans who seemed like - to use the technical political-science term - weirdos. Stop-the-steal rhetoric was a merit badge of weirdness. The more deeply a Republican candidate dove into the pit of denying Trump’s defeat in 2020, the higher the pen- alty they paid in votes. It’s a pattern that may help explain why Trump’s announcement speech was notably light on claims to have won two years ago. Yet all this leaves Trump with another problem. His effort to remain in office may have started two years ago as a way to salve his ego, but it has also helped to extend his political life. Take away the myth of widespread voter fraud in 2020, and he’s not the guy who had the election stolen from him. He’s the guy who lost to Joe Biden. And that’s someone Republican primary voters might abandon. Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. -Bloomberg Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of the authors and Parikh Worldwide Media does not officially endorse, and is not responsible or liable for them. By Ramesh Ponnuru Commentary: India’s Priorities As The NewChair Of G-20 A s India took over G20 Presidency for the year 2023 from Indonesia, all eyes are set on India as New Delhi would set the agenda that would create an environment of better cooperation between the global south and advanced nations as it stands non-partisan and enjoys the trust of both, Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated. The agenda will likely be cooperation for sustainable and equitable development for shared global peace and prosperity and capacity building to face emerging global challenges. Prosperity and peace in the global South will be the focus of India’s presidency of the G20. This was the clear import of Prime Minister Modi’s ad- dress while unveiling the logo, website, and agenda of the presidency under the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or one earth, one family, one future. As one of the biggest multilateral platforms command- ing 85 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and two-thirds of its population, the G20 wields significant influence, especially among the developed countries in North America and Europe. The Global South refers to the developing and less developed coun- tries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. There is great hope from India in the developing world which is facing the repercussions of the Great Power conflict in the present geopolitical uncertainty, economic headwinds, and adverse impacts of the climate crisis. India would focus on ensuring cooperation among the G-20 countries to help build reliable supply chains for basic goods as well as energy security. Modi said the presidency of India was beginning at a time of crisis and chaos in a world disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, prolonged conflict, and economic uncertainty. He underlined the uniqueness of India’s position as a country that understood the priorities of the developed countries and appreciated the challenges and ambitions of the developing world, thereby allowing it to act as a bridge to meet expectations. In fact, India could afford this as it is not part of any camp competing for domi- nance and hegemony. Rather than steering ahead skewed agenda favouring one country or one group, India would direct its efforts to secure a more prosperous and harmonious world. India realizes well that the world is moving towards multipolar- ity and rebalancing as articulated by Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar in Moscow during his meeting with his Rus- sian counterpart. This indicates India’s preference for pragmatism/real- ism and flexibility to address global problems. The G-20 under India’s presidency would leverage its unique position in the geo-political order. India’s decades-long championing of the causes of the global South and poorer nations allowed it to become a leader of developing countries. And its new brand of interest-based engagement, free from ideological or dogmatic fetters, has allowed it to leverage its strengths in an uncertain world. The indications are already coming clear what India thinks is the priority for the global community- both the rich and poor, the mighty and the weak. Prime Minister Modi had conveyed to President Putin in Samarkand in September that this is not an era of war. Reiterating the same position, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on November 15 noted that the global economy is too inter-dependent not to be impacted by a significant conflict and the Global South is feeling “this pain very acutely” especially after two years of the pandemic. India has been consistently working to make a fair and human global order. Speaking after the bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart, Jaishankar noted that India “strongly advocates a return to dialogue and diplomacy” and is on the side of “peace, respect for international law and support for the UN Charter”. He even offered help in issues including food grains, fertilizer shipments, and support for any initiative that de-risks the global econo- my. These are remarkable signals of how India is ready to see its responsibility for the resolution of global political and economic crises. India’s position on Ukraine is well understood by both Russia and the US. So far New Delhi has indicated that dialogue and negotiation is important to understand the views of different countries on the international situation and their particular perspectives and interests so as to find a convergence for peaceful and amicable settlement of global and bilateral problems. India, despite being a very strong nation, believes that cooperation and not conflict is needed to make a better world. Having a long track record of partnership with Russia and the U.S. as well as China, today India is well placed to be an accept- able arbiter in case of differences on global and bilateral issues. The promotion of inter-regional cooperation has been a key priority in India’s vision of a more livable world where free trade and investment takes place and people- to-people engagement is promoted through joint cultural activities, student and teacher exchanges, tourism, trade fairs, sports and R&D collaboration. There is much more to India’s G-20 Presidency which would be revealed with time after it assumes the Presi- dency. But the motto of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is a family) and the idea of Surve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Surve Santu Niramayah (All become happy and all be- come healthy) would remain the guiding principles. This is in line with the philosophy embedded in one of the great traditional prayers in India: “Na Twevavaham Ka- maye Rajyam, Na Sawargam, Na Punarbhavam; Kamaye dukha Tapatanam Praninam Artanashanam (O god I do not want you to grant me a state, heaven or rebirth; I pray that you may end the cycle of sorrows of all the living beings).” -ANI PM Narendra Modi being felicitated as India takes over presidency of G20 Nov. 16, 2022. Photo:Twitter @narendramodi Photo:TheWashington Post