Monday, September 5, 2016

Trump Campaign is Deliberately Muddying the Waters on Immigration

We've discussed this before. Trump's real position on immigration: deport 12 million people and 'maybe' the 'good ones' can come back afterwards is unpopular. So Kelly Conway and friends have tried to create as much strategic ambiguity as possible.

"Republicans won't be pinned down on immigration

Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway deflect questions on Sunday morning shows.

Moderator Chuck Todd worked hard to nail down Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence on his running mate’s immigration plan, asking the Indiana governor more than 10 times during Sunday's installment of NBC's "Meet the Press" what would happen to undocumented immigrants who had not committed a crime in a Donald Trump administration.

But each time Todd asked a variation of the question, Pence demurred, pivoting as Trump often does to a pledge to remove undocumented immigrants with a criminal history first, build a wall and implement the rest of the Manhattan billionaire’s immigration proposals. Only then, Pence said, would Trump begin “working with the Congress to determine the best approach to that.”

Read more:

Note that this is meant to be reassuring in its vagueness. It creates the sense that 'maybe' those who aren't criminals won't be sent back. It may or may not be reassuring to suburban whites who want an excuse to vote for Trump.

Think about if you're a Hispanic person with family or friends in the shadows. How reassuring is this then? I think there is a lot of murkiness too in Pence's talk about removing those with a criminal history first and then 'working with Congress to determine the best approach to that.'

I think that this is supposed to make people relax a little and not worry. Those noncriminal undocumented immigrants won't be rounded up right away. But it leaves a lot of ambiguity. Who exactly will get included in those with a criminal history?

And Trump has at other times said that everyone has to go first and then the good ones can come back. And remember that Trump has often insisted that they are all criminals as they all came here illegally, full stop.

That is still his position though Pence is trying to be ambiguous here. The truly mirthful part was when Pence kept saying 'Mr. Trump has been completely consistent here.'

Kellyann Conway also makes things as clear as mud:

"In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway similarly declined to offer a concrete answer to the question of what the Manhattan billionaire would do with undocumented immigrants who have not committed a crime since arriving in the U.S. She said that without first addressing the other aspects of Trump's plan, like building the wall and deporting criminals, it would be impossible to know what exactly the next steps should be."

"Once you enforce the law, once you get rid of the criminals, once you triple the number of ICE agents, once you secure the Southern border, once you turn off the jobs magnet, jobs and benefit magnet, then we'll see where we are," she said. "And we don't know where we'll be. We don't know who will be left. We don't know where they live, who they are. That's the whole point here, that we've actually never tried this."

Read more:

But how do you turn off the 'jobs and benefits magnet' by only deporting criminals? Don't the non criminal undocumented immigrants also allegedly steal jobs and benefits?

Then we have the fact that Trump also wants to cut back in legal immigration.

But being as clear as mud seems to work-at least with Trump supporters:

"49% of Trump voters in @MULawPoll think he’s changed on undocumented-37% think not. Big diff in perceived position."

This is why perception isn't reality no matter how much the media talks about 'optics.'

Anyway, it might convince Trump supporters but what about two other groups?

1. Hispanic people. My guess is they aren't fooled. There is nothing here to reassure you if you have family or friends in the shadows. The policy vagueness in some ways makes it worse. It's more cruel to have this kind of policy uncertainty.

2. White suburbans who may want to vote Republican but have been put off by Trump and don't want to vote for a racist.

The group that Trump has really fallen off with compared with normal Republicans is college educated whites especially college educated white women.

Will this be enough to fool them? That is the Trump calculation.

One other point. Tom Brown expressed something on Twitter that I've seen a number of people say: That if Trump does win over some more moderate suburban whites, he'll lose his base so it's a wash.

I don't agree. The Alt Right talks a lot about 'mainstreaming.' I think they may well get what Trump is trying to do. Josh Greenan had a piece that is worth reading and taking to heart regarding Trump.

There are two kinds of Trump supporters:

1. Those who believe he will do everything he says.

2. Those who think Trump is nodding and winking. He knows some of what he says is impossible and so there's nothing to worry about. This is just theatrics.

A winning Trump coalition-God help us-would have both voters who are voting for him because they believe he will deport 12 million and those who will vote for him because they assume he doesn't really mean he'll deport the 12 million.
What Trump is trying to do is increase the number who will vote for him if they believe he's just joking about deporting the 12 million.

Now he may or may not be successful with that. But if it fails I don't think it fails because he loses those who will vote for him because they want him to deport the 12 million.

No comments:

Post a Comment