It’s not news to most of us that Donald Trump has performed an almost flawless 180-degree back flip on deporting illegal immigrants. It was the staple of his campaign for a year. It was the very issue upon which he launched his successful bid to win the GOP nomination.
Now, he’s going to deport “the bad ones” which, assuming that he’s talking about those who have committed crimes other than being in the country illegally, will account for about 180,000 of the 11-12 million illegal immigrants in the country today. That means that he went from wanting to deport 100% of the illegal immigrants down to under 2%. It won’t matter, though. We’re finally starting to see the real motivation for his supporters.
During part 2 of Sean Hannity’s town hall interview with Trump on Fox News, Trump did something amazing. He used a variation of push polling to convince the audience that THEY wanted amnesty. Keep in mind that he repeated over and over again that it’s not amnesty and that they won’t become citizens, but at the end of the day it all means the same thing. People who are here illegally will continue to stay here and have the vast majority of the benefits given to citizens and those who have been granted amnesty.
The push poll didn’t start out very well for Trump. Even after loading the question in his first poll, the majority of his supporters still replied that illegal immigrants, including the “great people” who have been here for “15 or 20 years,” should be deported. To someone of lesser skill, this might be bad news. Not Trump. He’s the best salesman to ever run for President. He persisted with his “poll” until he got the results that he wanted. Eight times he polled the crowd.
By the end, there was literally ONE man in the audience willing to say that these “great people” should be deported. He stood up at Hannity’s request and as the camera focused on him, we saw the lone voice of opposition in a sea of fools who had just been conned into denying their political perspective for the sake of their chosen one…
…and that’s the point. Many conservatives are saying that this is going to hurt him. It will not. He’s going to rise in the polls. I’m not Nate Silver, but I would say that at this point he should be considered a slight favorite to win. Why? Because his base will not leave him and Hillary Clinton is just that bad. Millions of Independents and right-leaning Democrats who were held up by his harsh tone towards immigration will now have the excuse they need to dump Hillary.
What about the wall? Some are saying that he’s going to eventually backtrack on that as well. They point to an instant a few weeks ago when he said he was “almost 100%” certain he’d get the wall built. They perceived this as an early sign of flip-flopping, but it wasn’t. He’s simply facing the reality that he’ll still have to sell the wall to Congress in order to have it built and funded. He will absolutely, positively NEVER back down on the wall even if it takes three or four Presidential terms to get it built. This is his monument. He doesn’t want another library like other Presidents. He wants a big, beautiful, and unique reminder to generations in the future that says, “Trump was here.”
A word of advice to fellow NeverTrumpers: it’s time to stop talking policy against Trump to his ardent supporters. He’s not a man of policy and neither are they. There is no promise other than the wall and his intention of increasing spending that will stick. Everything else he proposes from his SCOTUS list to being pro-life to protecting the 2nd Amendment to defending Israel can change at any moment. In fact, here’s even better advice: stop talking to his ardent supporters altogether. They cannot be reached. This is the clearest example of a cult of personality that American politics has ever seen. The only thing that can stop him is to focus on the conservatives and Independents who are only considering him because they believe Hillary is worse. It’s a waste of time to attempt any discussion with his full-blown supporters.
If he can change the perspectives of a huge room full of people in eight minutes with a push poll, he’ll be able to do or say whatever he wants from a policy perspective and his followers will never leave him. They’re hooked on his authoritarianism, not his policy proposals. They’re lost and chances are they’ll never come back. The GOP is their party, now. It’s time to start a new party.