August 21, 2016

(The pundits on Fox's Journal Editorial Report sing Trump's praises for his so-called "pivot.")

First we had a vague apology for intemperate language, and now we have this:

In Reversal, Trump Indicates To Hispanic Leaders Openness To Legalization For Immigrants

In a Saturday meeting with his newly announced Hispanic advisory council, Donald Trump suggested he is interested in figuring out a “humane and efficient” manner to deal with immigrants in the country illegally, according to three sources....

“He said people who are here is the toughest part of the immigration debate, that it must be something that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner,” said Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who sat in Trump Tower with other Latino supporters and Trump.

“The idea is we’re not getting someone in front of the line, we’re doing it in a legal way, but he wants to hear ideas of how we deal with 11 million people that are here with no documents,” said Jose Fuentes, who was chair of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic advisory committee in 2012, and attended the meeting.

The headline calls this a "reversal" even though it's not:

Trump, however, stressed that any new announcements will still be in line with the border security-focused approach that has invited intense opposition from Latinos and immigrants since he launched his campaign....

“Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech -- enforce the laws, uphold the Constitution, be fair and humane while putting American workers first,” [Steven] Cheung [of the Trump campaign] wrote.

As Marc Thiessen noted, something like this appeared to be Trump's policy (when he was in a conciliatory mood) last November:

On Fox News on November 12, Trump’s son Eric expressed frustration that the media overlooks this:

The point isn’t just deporting them, it’s deporting them and letting them back in legally. He’s been so clear about that and I know the liberal media wants to misconstrue it, but it’s deporting them and letting them back legally.

... Listen closely to what Trump is actually proposing. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash earlier this year, Trump explained his plan this way:

I would get people out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.... A lot of these people are helping us ... and sometimes it’s jobs a citizen of the United States doesn’t want to do. I want to move ’em out, and we’re going to move ’em back in and let them be legal.

And surely we recall this from a debate in October:

As far as the wall is concerned, we’re going to build a wall. We’re going to create a border. We’re going to let people in, but they’re going to come in legally. They’re going to come in legally....

We can do a wall. We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re coming in legally.

So, when it's suited him, he's repeatedly said that that some immigrants who've come across the southern border should be allowed to stay, perhaps after leaving first.

But someone's persuaded him to go on a multi-day campaign of soft-spokenness and outreach to alienated voters. Some of it isn't going particularly well:

Speaking in Michigan, Trump offered a blunt appeal to African-American voters: “You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth in unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

His message was not well received. Of course, many blacks -- like many other Americans -- face challenges. But Trump lumped all blacks together into a single, monolithic, desperate group.

Nevertheless, he's doing his version of outreach. Why? I'm sticking with what I said a couple of days ago: he's been persuaded to "anchor left," after which he'll "pivot right." He's going to keep doing this until the mainstream press and the rest of the political world concede that, yes, Trump is becoming more mature and presidential. His new campaign crew has persuaded him that he'll get to be Trump again if he does this first. Trump doesn't seem like a guy who can delay gratification, but Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway apparently have him doing it.

It won't work unless journalists and pundits fall for it.

But you know they will.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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