I mentioned Jacob Monty’s un-endorsement of Trump in this post but watch below to see Alfonso Aguilar retract his own backing in an interview on CNN. They may not be the only members of the advisory council who end up walking away, either. Ramiro Pena didn’t officially pull his support yet but it sounds like he’s leaning that way:
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 1, 2016
“The ‘National Hispanic Advisory Council’ seems to be simply for optics,” he writes, “and I do not have the time or energy for a scam.” Yikes. This rumor is floating around too, although I have yet to see anything definitive:
Hispanic leader who advises Trump camp telling me half of Trump's Hispanic advisory board is ready to resign today (15 of 30)
— Leslie Sanchez (@LeslieSanchez) September 1, 2016
The upset among council members makes me wonder what, if anything, Trump promised them at that fateful August 20th meeting. There were some awfully rosy reports from pro-amnesty attendees afterward of how things had gone. If it’s true that Trump tends to adopt the position of whichever advisor spoke to him last on an issue, go figure that he might have seemed very receptive to creating a path to legalization for illegals at a meeting with legalization advocates. At a minimum, a council member might have walked out of that meeting expecting that whatever Trump ended up doing on legalization, the days of strong-form Jeff Sessions-style policies were over. There was going to be some sort of “softening,” especially rhetorically. Fast-forward 11 days to last night and they got the strongest-form Sessions-style immigration pitch from Trump yet, tempered only slightly by a flash of ambiguity about what might happen with nonviolent illegals in the U.S. down the road. If that’s how this played out, with council members having presented Trump with a de facto choice between their style of immigration politics and the Sessions/Bannon style, then it’s no surprise they’re walking away. Trump made his choice yesterday.
Who was the target audience, though? Trumpers loved it, but they’re already on the team.
But as for courting Latinos, [Ari] Fleischer said, “I’m afraid it’s too late. He likely has already made too many Hispanics think he doesn’t want them in the country. They’re not listening to his next sentence. He’s already lost too much support that his words now won’t make any meaningful difference.”
David Kochel, an Iowa-based Republican operative and former campaign strategist for Jeb Bush, interpreted Trump’s immigration speech as a “decision to play directly to [his] already secured base.”
“It has to be their calculation that they can drive up turnout in white working-class areas of battleground states to dizzying heights,” Kochel said. “Otherwise this move makes no sense 69 days from the election.” In any case, he added, “The ‘softening’ of Trump’s immigration policy died tragically on Wednesday night in Phoenix. Foul play is suspected.”
Right, I know — we should expect Bush family cronies to attack Trump for taking a hard line on immigration. Kochel’s point is fair, though: It seems like Trump is resigning himself to being a niche candidate of the white working-class and betting that he can drive turnout among that group so stratospherically high that it can, er, trump Hillary’s much broader coalition of women, white college grads, and minorities. Why he thinks that, I’m not sure. If you weren’t wooed by Trump’s immigration platform over the past year, it’s not easy to see why you’d be wooed now by the maximum-strength version of it. As for Latinos, Trump’s actually performed decently with them in many polls, if by “decently” you mean “no worse than Romney’s brutal 71/27 landslide in 2012.” Who knows, though, if the left’s agitation against the speech combined with high-profile un-endorsements like Aguilar’s won’t shave a few extra points off of Trump’s share of the Latino vote. His margin for error is already close to zero. If the speech backfires and drives up Latino turnout for Hillary, he’ll need even more of those white “undercover Trump voters” we keep hearing about to make up the difference.
I liked the speech, though, as I said this morning. David Frum’s defense of it against liberal attacks is also worth reading if you have time: “What Was So Shocking About Trump’s Immigration Speech?” Since when is it scandalous to care more about the benefits of immigration to Americans than to illegals?
— Carol Costello (@CarolC) September 1, 2016