The Corner

If Trump Loses Now, It’s Not Because He Was Too Tough on Immigration

I’ve been joking to reporters over the past couple of days that Trump’s supporters wouldn’t be likely to abandon him unless he embraced Chuck Schumer’s immigration policy.

Guess what!

Ann Coulter makes the same point in her new book, entitled (with unintended irony) In Trump We Trust: “[T]here’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven. Except change his immigration policies.”

Trump on Hannity Wednesday lamely repeated the lies of the anti-borders crowd: It’s not really amnesty! They won’t get citizenship! They’ll pay back taxes! (Schumer’s been running that con for 30 years.) Even his constant talk of a border wall seems to be his version of the Gang of Eight bill’s phony Corker-Hoeven amendment.

Trump didn’t need to “soften” his immigration position – he needed to define a coherent one and stick with it. His immigration platform has been on the campaign website for months and makes no mention of either mass deportation or amnesty. All he needed to have done was say that his freelance talk of deporting all the illegals was a gut reaction to the breakdown of our immigration enforcement system, but that further study and consultation showed that the more practical approach was to take the steps called for in his platform to shrink the illegal population over time. In response to the insistent “But what about the illegals?!” questions, he should simply have said that it is a secondary question that won’t even be discussed until the illegal flow is stopped and reversed.

That’s it. It’s not rocket science. He would have backed away from his Archie-Bunker-screaming-at-the-TV stuff about a “deportation force” rounding up people in the street, without proposing the Gang of One amnesty proposal.

That’s not what he did. And politically, this development must come as a disappointment to the GOP Establishment-in-Exile. They were hoping Trump’s loss would once and for all prove that opposing Comprehensive Immigration Reform® was a losing position, finally enabling them to force through the House of Representatives the amnesty and immigration increases their donors want and which they fancifully imagine would remove the only obstacle to Hispanic outreach.

But Trump probably just threw away his only remaining chance to win in November with Wednesday’s Jeb Bush impersonation. He won the primaries with immigration control as his marquee issue; had he stuck to his guns, and still lost, the GOP Brain Trust, not to mention the Democrats, would more plausibly have been able to argue that opposition to their agenda was the reason. It still would have been a silly claim, since had he not grabbed hold of the immigration issue, the very idea of President Trump would have remained a Simpsons joke – if he’d remained consistent and still lost, it would have been despite his immigration position, not because of it.

But now that he’s channeling Little Marco and Low-Energy Jeb on immigration, that story line has evaporated. Many of the voters who stuck with him through his various antics will start drifting away, so that in any state where the results are close in November could plausibly have been won if Trump hadn’t pulled a Schumer.

It’s liberating, in a sense. While Trump was still clearly seen as the voice of immigration skepticism, I was worried that his oafish shenanigans would taint the immigration issue, especially if he was defeated by Hillary. But now that he’s no longer that voice in any meaningful sense, I can watch the circus undisturbed. His defeat will be on his head alone.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
Health Care

The Experts Lied to Us about Masks

When the stakes are highest, the truth counts the most. Or maybe when things get really serious, that’s when the people really can’t be trusted with the truth. It’s pretty clear which of these two ideas is the one that has been guiding elite medical, political, and journalistic institutions, isn’t it? ... Read More
Health Care

The Experts Lied to Us about Masks

When the stakes are highest, the truth counts the most. Or maybe when things get really serious, that’s when the people really can’t be trusted with the truth. It’s pretty clear which of these two ideas is the one that has been guiding elite medical, political, and journalistic institutions, isn’t it? ... Read More