The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump’s Pivot

We shouldn’t be surprised that he’s beginning to throw overboard some of the conservative-ish things he said in the primary: 

  1. His core issues are opposing foreign trade, browbeating foreign allies that are supposedly taking advantage of us, and avoiding foreign interventions. These are things he’s been consistent on for a very long time. You can add immigration restriction to the core, since he has made such a big issue of it over the last year, although I wouldn’t be shocked if he finds a way to wiggle out of his “deportation force” and he has never been very well-informed, for instance, on what is supposed to be his own position on H1Bs. Everything else is negotiable and he will attack Hillary from the left as it suits him. It’s not inconceivable — although perhaps not likely — that he finds a way to get to her left even on health care.
  2. Since the traditional Republican electoral map is now difficult for any Republican to navigate and looks particularly daunting for Trump (his catastrophically poor standing among Hispanics makes Florida look very tough, for instance), he might as well scramble things ideologically as much as possible to try to create some new map centered on the Rust Belt and Upper Midwest. (Although this looks more like a theory and hope than a reality at the moment.)
  3. Given point 2, maybe Trump doesn’t necessarily need some party endorsements you would typically want as a matter of course (say, the past two Republican presidents). But Trump’s high-handedness about party unity, his insistence on making an endorsement by Paul Ryan harder rather than easier for the Speaker, and his pointless nastiness toward Russell Moore all suggest he is simply letting his vindictiveness overwhelm a rational calculation of his own self-interest — not a great quality in an aspirant to the highest office in the land.

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