If He'll Sell Them Out On Xenophobia, Can Trump's Fans Trust Him On Anything At All?
Despite all the hubbub in recent days, Team Trumpanzee isn't grappling for a coherent immigration policy, just a p.r. approach that can appease suburban voters who shun overt racism, xenophobia and gratuitous viciousness while not turning off Trump's base among racists, xenophobes and the gratuitously vicious. Republican Party operative Stuart Stevens hasn't been impressed. He referred to the Trumpanzee Campaign as "utter chaos [and] a smash and grab operation, not a campaign." The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has always remained neutral in presidential races-- until this year. Because of Señor Trumpanzee's unending provocation against Hispanics in America they broken a nearly 4 decade long tradition and endorsed Clinton. Yesterday the president of the group, Javier Palomarez, told MSNBC that Trump's "new" rhetoric on immigration "is nothing more than an act of desperation."
Trump's patently insincere "outreach" to minority groups ins't moving minority groups, who see right through him and it probably isn't doing him much good with the suburbanites its supposed to mollify. As Greg Sargent's solid tweetstorm yesterday made perfectly clear that "by signaling a softening, Trump and Kellyanne Conway were testing whether they could have it both ways," trying to simultaneously assure suburbanites (and media patsies) they only want to deport criminals (like Obama does), "while also winking at hard liners by saying, 'don't worry, the 11 million still remain subject to deportation, and won't be legalized'."
Byron York made the case on the far right that Trump and Kellyanne are making a mess of things with what is being perceived as flip-flops.
One thing is certain in the current brouhaha over Donald Trump's immigration proposals: the candidate and his top aides are making a mess of things. What is the status of his old proposal to deport all immigrants who are in the United States illegally? After days of Trump and his senior advisers talking about it, the answer is entirely unclear.
The fundamental problem vexing Team Trump is that the deportation proposal was never really clear. Yes, Trump said it often last year, but he also pointedly left it out of many immigration discussions, as well. It went largely unnoticed, for example, that when Trump posted an immigration position paper on his campaign website last year, it had a lot about a border wall and enhanced enforcement-- and nothing at all about mass deportations.
...The strategy-- making strength on immigration Trump's signature issue-- worked fantastically well in Trump's march through the Republican primaries. But the general election campaign is different, and Trump has finally found himself under pressure to clarify his position. And in the last 72 hours Trump has lost control of the issue.
His new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has said Trump's position on deportations is to be determined. Trump himself has said things that appear to be hardline and things that appear much softer. The problem will not be resolved until Trump lays out, in some systematic way, where he stands on the question and explains in turn where that position fits into his larger immigration policy.
Trump's deportation mess is troubling to some of the best-informed conservatives on the immigration issue because it creates a huge and damaging controversy over a matter that is not at the heart of solving the larger immigration problem. "The disposition of the 12 million illegals already here is not the core dilemma we face," writes Mark Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tighter limits on immigration. "The core dilemma is how to make sure we don't end up with another 12 million illegal aliens."
What Trump does could have a serious effect on his campaign. Perhaps a new, more moderate position might attract some undecided voters. But a retreat from the deportation pledge, or at least what many supporters believed Trump's deportation pledge to be, could disillusion some who have supported and worked for Trump's candidacy. There are a significant number of Trump supporters who were drawn to him because of his stand on immigration.
Like Ann Coulter. The conservative author has written a new book, In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!, and in an appearance on MSNBC Tuesday said she hoped Trump is not, in fact, backing away from his positions on immigration.
Still, Trump's recent statements "sound very consultant to me," Coulter said. "I think this is a mistake." And she added: "This could be the shortest book tour ever if he's really softening his position on immigration."
Coulter has basically said it doesn't matter to the mass of Trump's brain-dead fans how much flip-flopping he doers on anything... except white nationalism. The Know Nothing position on immigration is not a bargaining chip for her and for at least a large portion of the most bloodthirsty of the deranged Trumpists. Embracing the Jeb-and-Marco amnesty plan is not something they'll take laying down. Nick Gass at Politico called Coulter's attitude shift a sense of disgust with the hint of Trumpanzee openness, as though she ever thought he ever really stood for anything at all beyond attaining his own personal goal of winning.
Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity in a town hall event broadcast Wednesday night, Trump floated multiple ideas for the audience's reaction, including one in which undocumented immigrants would pay "back taxes" but added, "there's no amnesty, but we work with them." Trump recounted meeting with "very strong people" who have told him "it's so tough" to throw out people who have been in the country for 15 to 20 years.State Senator Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is one of the most accomplished and forceful of the Blue America-endorsed congressional candidates this cycle. She has never stood for the ugly bigotry and divisiveness behind the Trump messaging. Last might she told us that "Trump would do well to remember that the majority of candidates-- even at a local level-- who try to talk tough on immigration end up losing. That will certainly be true at the Presidential level-- and his recent vagueness and flip flopping seems to be admitting this reality. The majority of Americans-- both Republican and Democrat-- know that America needs humane and just comprehensive immigration reform that brings 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, creates a path to citizenship, reunites our families and levels the playing field for and protects workers. Deporting 11 million people makes no sense and is inhumane-- and spending billions more on border security and building a wall is equally nonsensical. It’s also no formula for winning elections. I’ve fought for immigration reform for 15 years, and in 2013, the US Senate passed-- with 67 bipartisan votes-- a bill that would finally move us forward as a country. Smart politicians would do well to get on board with that quickly."
"It's a very, very hard thing," Trump conceded.
Nevada state Senator Ruben Kihuen, an immigrant himself, has a similar approach to Pramila's. He told us that Trump will be unable to pivot away from having called "Mexican immigrants rapists and drug criminals or calling for a mass deportation force. But these hardline policy ideas that demonize families like mine aren't just Trump's views-- they are representative of today's GOP. My Tea Party opponent, Congressman Hardy, plays right into this playbook: he fear-mongers about immigrants taking jobs, opposes a path to full and equal citizenship, and votes against President Obama’s actions that protect hard-working immigrant families from being ripped apart."
And in the midst of all this, we have a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month that shows a whopping 60% of Americans agreeing that Trump is biased against women and against minorities. Only 36% of Americans think Trump isn't biased.