Can Trump pull off his ‘softening’ on expelling illegals?
Leftists are ecstatic over the angry response of Ann Coulter over the “softening” Donald Trump expressed on deporting all illegal aliens. On two Sean Hannity-moderated Fox News town halls, the candidate indicated vague plans.
Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity in a town hall event broadcast Wednesday night, Trump floated multiple ideas for the audience's reaction, including one in which undocumented immigrants would pay "back taxes" but added, "there's no amnesty, but we work with them." Trump recounted meeting with "very strong people" who have told him "it's so tough" to throw out people who have been in the country for 15 to 20 years.
"It's a very, very hard thing," Trump conceded.
Paying “back taxes” sounds good, but Trump needs to consider the insidious Earned Income Tax Credit, which sends checks to low-income people, especially those with large families.
It is an open question as to whether Trump can pull this off without alienating some of his base. Most observers believe that this change was a Kellyanne Conway move, part of a strategy to destigmatize Trump in the eyes of a swath of moderate voters who don’t trust Hillary but worry that Trump is a madman or a bigot. But with Ann Coulter, ever anxious for the spotlight, out there saying awful things, a revolt by part of his base is quite possible.
However, this could work in his favor. Is Ann Coulter going to vote for Hillary? For Johnson? For Stein? And what about her followers? In the end, I suspect that most will vote Trump.
Trump’s main chance is to be upfront and position his policies as a work in progress. He has not spent years formulating policies; he has been building a business empire. He could tell voters that he is changing his policy because he has listened to the voters, that when he gets new information, he changes his policies.
This obviously risks a response that he is an amateur, too green for the responsibilities of office. But almost everyone who is persuadable on that point already has written him off.
The point would be to reassure the voters who are turned off by Hillary’s treachery. We'll see. My guess is that there is a strategy.