As a general rule, immigration hawks care more about the issue than immigration doves. Even if the president shifts hard to the left on immigration, it’s unlikely immigration doves will suddenly decide the man who accused Mexican-born immigrants of being murderers and rapists is in fact a chill dude. It’s Trump’s hateful language about immigration from the campaign that they’ll remember, not that he caved on the issue as president. Immigration hawks, meanwhile, will be hopping mad if the president sells them out. Although they’re unlikely to abandon him completely—they’ll still prefer Trump over Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris, who will no doubt take far more dovish positions on immigration—they’ll be less inclined to forgive future transgressions.
That brings me to Trump’s next move. Right now, Republican lawmakers are wrangling over all manner of tax policy questions: how low the corporate tax rate should go, whether pass-throughs should get even more favorable treatment than they do under the current tax code, how exactly to rejigger the marginal tax rate schedule, and more. One flank of the GOP wants 1986-style revenue-neutral tax reform, which will inevitably mean angering tons of people who will lose out as their deductions and credits are trimmed, consolidated, or eliminated outright. Another favors a George W. Bush–style temporary tax cut, which will involve a lot less pain, but that will also be less likely to spur the kind of long-term behavioral changes on the part of investors and employers that could boost long-run economic growth. On substantive grounds, reform is the better way to go. But passing a serious tax reform measure is also next to impossible, not least because the Trump White House is utterly incapable of knocking heads together to make it happen.