Trumponomics

This week, Donald Trump gave a major speech on the economy and Hillary Clinton fired back. While Trump attempted to appeal to a more traditional Republican base with many of his proposed policies, how is his trade protectionism being received? And is Clinton tacking to the left or heading for the centre ground? Gideon Rachman puts the questions to Shawn Donnan, the FT’s World Trade editor and Sam Fleming, US economics editor.

Donald Trump spent Wednesday campaigning, traversing from the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Virginia’s Abingdon, to a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where polls show him locked in a tight race with Hillary Clinton.

Back at his Manhattan headquarters, however, someone was doing a little traversing of their own. For most of Wednesday afternoon, camera crews trained their lenses on a spandex-clad climber who has been scaling Trump Tower using suction cups. The second cupping controversy of the week ended with the man being hauled in through a window by police officers. It was a distraction from the other campaign news of the day, which centered on the fall-out over Trump’s Tuesday comment about Second Amendment supporters stopping Clinton from nominating liberal justices to the Supreme Court. Read more

On Monday, Donald Trump read an economic policy speech from a teleprompter in an effort to reset his troubled candidacy and show that he has the discipline to run for president.

Today, he said this, about how rival Hillary Clinton’s nomination of judges to the Supreme Court would threaten the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms: Read more

Donald Trump sought to reset his flailing candidacy with what his campaign billed as a major economic address on Monday in Detroit, with the property developer and former reality TV star promising to slash regulation, cut taxes in a “tax revolution” and revive manufacturing through an “America First” economic policy.

Trump’s aim was to attract Republicans who have been repelled by some of his xenophobic rhetoric and erratic impulses. But an open letter signed by 50 senior Republican national security officials illustrates just how difficult that may be. In it, Republican former heads of the CIA, NSA and homeland security, among others, write, “none of us will ever vote for Donald Trump” because he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and wellbeing”. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Sometimes one or two events can change the political mood all over the world. The release of Nelson Mandela from prison in February 1990 came just three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Those two events inspired democrats and liberals across the globe.

The battle for Aleppo

The battle for Syria’s second city is both a grave humanitarian crisis and a potential turning point in the country’s long civil war. The FT’s Erika Solomon and David Gardner join Gideon Rachman.

Eighties outreach: Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko pictured in 1985

Japan is a society where wheels operate inside wheels. That explains how, 30 years ago, your humble correspondent achieved a certain fame by becoming the tennis and dancing partner of the Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan, the couple who, two years later, would ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, from which Akihito on Monday signalled his intention to abdicate.

The proximate cause was the 40th anniversary ball of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, of which I was then president. I was told by the club staff that, as a matter of protocol we should invite the Imperial Couple but, not to worry, they would not come. So Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone became the principal guest of honour.

But on the Monday before the Friday black tie ball, I got a call in my office asking me to come over to the Akasaka Palace to discuss the circumstances of their attendance, one of which would be to disinvite the prime minister. The mixing of church and state, as it were, would be inappropriate, which Nakasone’s office understood perfectly and said he would come for drinks with the honoured guests and be long gone by the time They arrived for dinner

They came, saw and conquered. I had been told They would leave after the dinner and toasts – mine to the Imperial family, his to the freedom of the press – but they didn’t. They stayed through skits by club members and when the band struck up a tune, They took off for the dance floor. After a few seconds, my wife and I followed and stayed close to them as a waltz became a scrum. Read more

244 days. That’s how long it had been since Hillary Clinton gave a press conference. Until today.

This afternoon, the Democratic nominee appeared at the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Joint Conference and deigned to take a few questions from journalists in the audience. Read more

It is a question often raised by Donald Trump’s seemingly glib or off-the-cuff opinions on minefield subjects that other politicians would avoid: “What does that mean?”

Today it was Barack Obama who was asking it, as he was quizzed at a press conference on Trump’s suggestion that this year’s election could be rigged. “That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense,” the president said, before mentioning kids who lose playground games and say they were cheated. Read more

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Are the wheels falling off the Trump train?

Over the past roughly 24 hours, Donald Trump has attacked the parents of a slain US soldier, refused to endorse the Republican speaker of the House, claimed John McCain – the US senator who spent five years as a POW in Vietnam – “has not done a good job for the vets”, suggested Americans pull their retirement funds from the stock market, claimed the election might be rigged and appeared to eject a baby from a campaign rally. On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough said an unnamed foreign policy expert told him that Trump asked him at least three times: “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” Read more

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On Tuesday, President Barack Obama made explicit the argument he has been building for weeks about Donald Trump: “The Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president.”

It was Obama’s sharpest denunciation yet of the former reality TV star, who has come under fire for his attacks on the Muslim-American parents of a slain US soldier. Obama also said Trump is “woefully unprepared to do this job” and “doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge” about the world.

 Read more

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Last Thursday, Khizr Khan delivered one of the most affecting moments at a political convention in years with a passionate rebuke to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, contrasting it with the story of his son, a Muslim immigrant who joined the US army and died in Iraq protecting his fellow soldiers from an IED.

“You have sacrificed nothing and no one!” Khan said, addressing Trump directly from the podium in Philadelphia as his wife Ghazala stood stoically next to him. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

At the Democratic convention last week, I experienced an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu. Emblazoned across the arena was the rallying cry of the Hillary Clinton campaign — “Stronger Together”. It was a depressing reminder of “Stronger In,” the slogan of the losing Remain campaign in Britain’s referendum on EU membership.

So long, Philly. Democrats are streaming away from their party convention and heading home for the final 15-week sprint to the presidential election on November 8. It’s going to be brutal.

Hillary Clinton left most of her party with a spring in its step after a rousing speech (by her standards) on Thursday night. Bill Clinton seemed to have a great time, judging by the fun he had with the balloons that fell from the ceiling. Read more

Pop singer Katy Perry and candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on stage at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines.

Hillary Clinton finally smashes one of the remaining glass ceilings in politics as she becomes the first woman to secure her party’s nomination for US president. This blog tracks the historic moment with reaction and commentary from observers as well as the FT political team there to witness the event at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
 

The dream script for Democrats in Philadelphia tonight would have Hillary Clinton closing out their convention with a rousing crescendo. But can she manage it as she accepts the party nomination?

Democrats have already savoured speeches from their party’s most talented orators – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden – who set a high bar. Clinton is not a natural speechmaker and John Podesta, her campaign chair, predicted to the New York Times: “Maybe she doesn’t hit those soaring notes.” Read more

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Donald Trump is renowned for knowing how to dominate a news cycle, but did he really intend to dominate today’s? As the delegates at the Democratic convention cool down from the blistering Philadelphia heat outside, ahead of speeches tonight from Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and others, Trump has garnered a big chunk of attention for himself with his latest Russian turn.

In a press conference, he urged Moscow to track down and hand over tens of thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server which have yet to be released. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

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Discord at the Democratic Convention

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia got off to a turbulent start this week, revealing deep divisions between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The FT’s World News editor Ben Hall discusses what this means for Clinton’s campaign for the White House with Washington bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo and Gideon Rachmann, the FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator.

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Boring? That’s what many predicted the Democratic convention would be after last week’s Republican drama in Cleveland. How wrong they were. Instead, the Democrats are off to a raucous, rollicking start that is giving party chiefs reason to bury their heads in their hands.

Just a couple of hours into the Philadelphia convention, the party unity that Democratic leaders want to cement by the end of this week appears thin on the ground. Read more

By Federica Cocco

Analysts are cranking up the odds of a Donald Trump presidency, with researchers at Citigroup saying the possibility “cannot be ruled out” and the statistics site FiveThirtyEight rating the odds of the Republican candidate at 40 per cent. Read more