If Trump loses now, it's not because he was too tough on immigration

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.