Will Trump's Rumored Pivot on Mass Deportation Work?

He is trying to win over moderate whites, not Hispanic voters.


Trump Hands
Philip N Cohen

Well, well! What a difference a few bad polls can make!

News reports surfaced over the weekend that thanks to his tanking poll numbers over the last few weeks, Donald Trump is considering a switcheroo on the issue that launched his candidacy and propelled him to victory in the Republican race: Illegal immigration. He had made mass deportation of 11 million undocumented aliens — with their American families — the central plank of his campaign along with building the Great Wall of Trump on the Southern border. But there are signs that he may be backing off on at least the mass deportation aspect of his plan.

BuzzFeed and Univision have reported that in a meeting with his newly announced team of Hispanic advisers, the Donald signaled a willingness to consider a way of dealing with illegal aliens short of deportation. Although he did not use the word "legalization" at the meeting, he hinted that he may in fact be open to something akin to it although not full-blown citizenship – in other words, the Marco Rubio 2.0 plan. Adding fuel to this speculation was Trump's new campaign manager and veteran Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway's weekend appearance on CNN's State of the Union in which she pointedly declined to debunk these stories. "To be determined," she deflected, adding: "What [Trump] supports is to make sure that we enforce the law, that we are respectful of those Americans who are looking for well-paying jobs, and that we are fair and humane for those who live among us in this country."

Fair and humane for those who live among us in this country! That he cares about fairness and humanity to anyone other than himself will no doubt come as news to The Donald himself.

He'll make what he's really thinking clear in a Thursday speech on immigration. And Trump is a thoroughly brazen and opportunistic candidate so I wouldn't put it past him to at least try and pull what would be the Mother of All Flip Flops.

But why is he considering it and will it work?

He's considering it because otherwise there is no hope. He is listening to the polls – the only thing he listens to besides his own "very good brain"– and they are telling him he has no path to victory with his current inflammatory course. The post-RNC bump that he received is over and his numbers are tanking. But even the highs he received then were not high enough to carry him to the White House.

So given the circumstances, the pivot on deportation is the first non-insane thing he is doing.

But it won't work.

Trump would win if he got 5 percent more than Mitt Romney's 59 percent of the white vote while hanging on to Romney's (pathetic) support among minorities. But what Trump has found out is that when he beats up on minorities, not only does he lose the minority vote big time (he is polling 0 percent among blacks in some key counties in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio and 12-25 percent among Hispanics), but he actually also starts losing his edge among white voters. For every hardline white voter he has attracted, he has lost more moderate white voters.

He has been pulling the same number or slightly fewer white male voters than Romney, a New York Times analysis found. (Indeed, Hillary Clinton now has a one-point lead over Trump among men.) But he is losing white female voters by a vast margin, so appalled are they by his nasty loutishness.

So a pivot on deportation — along with his so-called appeal to black voters (telling them they have nothing to lose by going with him given how liberal politicians have failed them) — is meant not really for Hispanic or black voters but white voters, especially white women voters.

But this is too little too late. Women are not suckers and fools. Odds are that they will be massively turned off by the size of his pivot. Hillary Clinton will pound him day and night with ads juxtaposing his gazillion incendiary anti-Hispanic comments – including the ones about why a judge with Mexican heritage is not qualified to hear the case against Trump University – with his final switcheroo, showing that he's the real "liar."

Be that as it may, I wish he'd really stick to his anti-amnesty guns. Why? Not because I'm opposed to amnesty. In fact, I think that the nation's failure to legalize undocumented workers and consigning them to the shadows is a travesty. Rather, because his switcheroo will muddy the political waters making amnesty harder not easier after the elections.

He is — insha allah! — going to lose regardless whether he sticks to his deportation pledge or ditches it. If he sticks to it, he'll lose Hispanics big time and won't win. If he ditches it, he'll lose Hispanics and his core base big time and he won't win. But the latter will allow Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the restrictionist lobby to claim that Republicans can't win by appeasing Hispanics so they may as well not try.

This means that the restrictionist, Know Nothing-wing of the GOP will fight President Hillary Rodham Clinton (or President Gary Johnson, for those libertarians who like to dream) and sensible members of its own party tooth-and-nail when they really do try and craft a solution that is "fair and humane to those living among us" – just as it has always done.

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  1. *grabs popcorn*

  2. “fair and humane to those living among us”

    Deportation is fair and humane, he would send them to a country where college students party on spring break, not to the surface of the sun

  3. Of course it won’t work.

    Media outlets will either ignore it completely, or will frame it by first rehearsing all the charges of racism and bigotry, and posing a rhetorical question (“Will this obvious racist’s lies about not deporting all whites from the country be believed?”).

    This statement will be smothered in the cradle before being tossed down the memory hole.

  4. List of things Trump can do to win Shikha’s vote:

    1. Adopt a Guatemalan orphan?

    2. Blame all of India’s problems on British colonialism?

    3. Promise to deport Bobby Jindal?

      1. Make Bobby Jindal convert to Hinduism like a true Indian?

        1. Um for those who might not remember that is a reference to Shikha bitching about Jindal’s Catholicism in a previous article she wrote, and she considered Trump the bigot hmmmm….

          1. Except Dalmia hates Hinduism with a passion.

      2. We have a winner, although he might have to also deport Nikki Haley depending on Shika’s mood that day.

    4. Most multi-cultural Indians save their hatred for Pakistan.

      So, I’m going with “Declare War on Pakistan” to win the bleeding heart Indian vote.

  5. If Trump wins in November then the trolling I’m going to do on Hit & Run is going to be YUUUGGEEE!!!

    1. If Trump wins in November, I will be banned from every lefty site by Jan1st because I will troll the shit out of them.

      (My current bans include “RawStory”, “Balloon Juice”, “TalkingPointsMemo”, “DummieUnderground”, and “Think Progress”).

      I really need to add Salon, Washington Monthly, Slate, and Atrios to my list…

  6. Ugh – another sockpuppet gone rogue. Down, Shikha!

    1. You lost another sockpuppet, dajjal?

  7. I’m all for fair and humane. As long as the priority is fair and humane to American citizens first. AKA “those who live among us”.

  8. Oh by the way Shikha, the only reason I’m voting for Trump in November is due to people like you in the media completely losing their shit over the very mention of his name.

    I’m not kidding either. The fucking media is what has convinced me to actually vote in November instead of just getting drunk, which was my original plan.

    1. Um uber will be more than happy to take your drunk ass to the polls on Election Day so get over your mutual exclusiveness. And damnit man don’t you dare cheat your alcoholism.

  9. “He is listening to the polls ? the only thing he listens to besides his own “very good brain”– and they are telling him he has no path to victory with his current inflammatory course. The post-RNC bump that he received is over and his numbers are tanking.”

    This is a fairly good Shikha article, but is the above true? Just going by RCP, he’s been slowly inching back up.

    1. I sort of wonder if also there will be a Brexit effect. The media in Britain spent months before the vote telling the public that anyone who was considering voting for Brexit was nothing but a knuckle dragging moronic racist. The polls showed the “Stay” vote having the lead right up until election day, but people went into the polling booths and voted “leave” instead.

      Apparently calling all the leave voters racists didn’t change their minds, it just made them lie to pollsters.

      1. I think the Shy-Trumper vote definitely is there but it still won’t be enough to overtake the Machine. I think I just read that Republican registration is actually up in many swing states.

        But I usually get these things wrong.

    2. Fivethirtyeight had an article on this. Things are still looking grim in most of the swing states, even if the national margin is closing a bit. Hillary’s lead has gone down a bit, but at the same time, it was unsustainably high before. The media hasn’t made a Trump gaffe catch on for quite a while either, but that’s probably going to change. I have to expect he’ll take a few more unfavorable news cycles before it’s all said and done. The smart money is still on Hillary, barring the Wikileaks dump being absolutely monumental

  10. If women collectively are not suckers or fools, how come so many of them are intending to vote for Hillary Clinton?

  11. It’s too late to pivot – Trumpkins have already invested months of work into their boxcar designs. They’re not about to give up on their dreams when they are sooo close….

  12. I’m not voting for Trump because you people are idiots and don’t deserve such a great leader.

  13. I will say this: if Trump pivots then it is only because he is 100% sure of a terrorist attack just before the election. Not that that will help him – it will backfire – but that’s the only reason he will pivot. Which is the strategy he should have begun with: choose ONE vulnerable minority and attack it relentlessly. And no “And some of my best friends are ___.” As his hero once explained: “Half measures availed us nothing.”

  14. RE: Will Trump’s Rumored Pivot on Mass Deportation Work?
    He is trying to win over moderate whites, not Hispanic voters.

    Trump the Grump is right to deport people who want to engage in capitalism, improve their stations in life and live the American Dream. First, this fascist is wise enough, like many socialist slavers, to eliminate the asinine notion of due process. What kind of socialist slave state are we if we continue to cling on the nefarious and archaic concept of the US Constitution? North Korea and Cuba must be laughing their asses off. Secondly, these immigrants should have stayed in their authoritarian (or better yet, totalitarian) states. Capitalism has failed miserably, and letting these immigrants in would only disappoint them as they work hard, see their children improve upon their lives, be more free of the police than they would be in their native country, make money, thrive, etc. Grinding poverty and oppression is a much better way of life for the little people as any good socialist will tell you. How sad it is indeed to watch these poor newcomers to our country try to eek out a living by working hard, saving and purchasing such unnecessary items as homes, food and clothing, cars, etc when they can enjoy life so much better if they would just allow their previous home governments ration these items to them. Therefore, for the immigrants own good, we must eliminate due process and send them all back where they came from.

    1. It was all fun and games when they were just cooks at the Golden Corral whipping up our weekend brunch buffet. But now that their children are outperforming ours in high school graduation honors – They must all leave now!

  15. Whopperito or Baconator? Trumpkins, please weigh in on the important issue of the day:

    1. Baconator, bitch…

      If you have to ask, you’ll never figure it out!

  16. This means that the restrictionist, Know Nothing-wing of the GOP

    Takes one to know nothing.

  17. Hmmm, let’s see if Hillary Clinton suddenly announced that she wasn’t going to back gun control legislation would anyone believe her?

    1. If Hillary suddenly annouced that she never sent or received a “classified email” on her private server, would anyone believe her?

      Just everybody at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, NYT, WashPo, HuffPo, and the 3 people who watch MSDNC.

  18. I don’t know why so many people seem to think that deporting illegal aliens means dragging them all into vans. End sanctuary cities, end welfare for them (please, no b.s. about how they don’t get welfare), enforce current employment laws, end the “catch and release” nonsense, and vast numbers will go back home the same way they got here: under their own power.

    1. I don’t know why so many people seem to think that deporting illegal aliens means dragging them all into vans. End sanctuary cities, end welfare for them (please, no b.s. about how they don’t get welfare), enforce current employment laws, end the “catch and release” nonsense, and vast numbers will go back home the same way they got here: under their own power.

      Why is any of the latter stuff less of an abuse of individual rights (other than the welfare stuff, which they’re not supposed to get anyway)?

      The employment laws are literally a denial of the right of a US citizen to voluntarily contract with a person of their choice. This is basic libertarian stuff. You’re talking about fundamentally treating a class of human beings as persona-non-grata to drive them out of the country. Merely because those people don’t have certain government-issued pieces of paper. On a very basic level, it should be obvious this is morally wrong from a libertarian perspective.

      1. You and I disagree about what “basic libertarian stuff” is. I don’t think it includes unlimited immigration into a broke welfare state by people and their descendants who empower statists and will continue to do so.

        1. What about convincing their descendants to see your point of view? Or is there something inherent to immigrants that make them statists?

          And despite your not wanting to talk about the facts of the matter, your crocodile tears about the welfare state make for an incoherent argument. If you don’t like the welfare state, why not bankrupt it asap? If you do, why not realize that the basic math of a welfare state means the more immigration the better, as immigrants are always younger on average than the general population, meaning they’re in their paying-in years. We just need a steady supply of immigrants if you want to keep the welfare state solvent.

        2. Immigrants can’t legally qualify for welfare. You keep saying they’re still getting it, but if they are, it’s either stuff like schools and roads that any native born American also gets, in which case babies are just as bad as immigrants, or they are breaking the law.

          I’ve been through the immigration system, so I know this. You either get sponsored by an employer (in which case you have a job, and probably at least a college degree), or you have a family sponsorship, in which case your relatives have to signed a pledge and demonstrate sufficient assets to support you for at least five years, until you naturalize.

          And look at the blue-collar whites backing Trump because they hate NAFTA. Can you honestly say those people are less statist than Hispanic immigrants?

          1. Immigrants can’t legally qualify for welfare

            Yup. And I’m only allowed to legally vote once,

            Except in 2008- when I voted three times to prove to myself it could be done. (Mickey Mouse had a good turnout that year!).

          2. And the 11 milion illegal immigrants did not go through the same system as you did…

            Higher walls, wider gates…

  19. sept 2015 – Trump’s Deportation Proposal Isn’t Nazism, It’s A Senate Proposal Called ‘Touchback’ Amnesty..
    Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter to George W. Bush, in an appearance on The Kelly File Friday night, said that what Mr. Trump is saying when he talks about sending them back is an actual amnesty proposal called “Touchback” aka “Touchback Amnesty”. It was a Senate proposal that narrowly missed passage in 2007.
    It was endorsed by the New York Times but the National Review was opposed because they called it amnesty. It simply means if illegal immigrants want to stay here, they can go back home and then receive expedited approval to come back in and stay.
    Marc Thiessen explains in the next video and, as he said, Trump’s rhetoric is more fiery than what he’s actually proposing.

  20. Trump can’t pivot. He never had a policy of mass deportation to begin with. He can’t reverse a policy that was a figment of the media’s spin in the first place. The more the media claims he said this, the more support he will get. He did threaten to cancel all the H1-B visas, but that isn’t going to piss of anyone but Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Meanwhile Hillary will likely follow Obama’s policies which will continue with the record-breaking numbers Obama has been deporting. If deportation is your issue, Trump is not the problem.

  21. Trump Interesting character.

  22. “He is trying to win over moderate whites, not Hispanic voters.”

    Putting Hispanics or Latinos into a different category than “whites” is highly problematic.

    When Trump is championing the white, blue collar, middle class, his message resonates with a large number of third and fourth generation Hispanics or Latinos, too, and do you know why?

    Because plenty of third and fourth generation Hispanics are just as “white” as third and fourth generation Italians, Irish, Swedes, etc.

    The white, blue collar, middle class is becoming more Hispanic all the time–why wouldn’t Trump’s message resonate with Hispanics? Trump has a higher level of support from Latinos than he does from blacks–and his message on immigration doesn’t target blacks at all.

  23. interesting article…

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