Responding to Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan

 

GovDear Grand Old Party — particularly all candidates, consultants, and media:

I know how you want to respond to this. Don’t do it. You’re outraged — it’s crazy, unworkable, and a political disaster. I agree. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with you on everything, but you’re right about that.

But here’s what you should have learned by now: When you furiously attack Trump, even on policy, you make his fans ever more defensive and ever more loyal. Moreover, to debate policy with Trump is to wrestle Proteus. Lay hand on him and he changes shape. Two blinks ago he supported complete amnesty. On air today he said he’d round up and deport everyone, including children born here. (He can’t, by the way.) But he also says he’ll let most of them right back in. The actual written plan says only that he’ll deport all aliens with criminal convictions. What’s real? Don’t bother trying to figure it out; it’ll be different tomorrow.

So what can you do? First, take a deep breath and don’t rant. Trump’s fans like seeing you rant. If you want to beat him, you need to show that won’t work anymore. Stay calm. Be purposeful. Take smart advice, such as using the tactics Quin Hillyer suggests:

[Use] ridicule — not of the candidate’s supporters, but of the candidate himself. Turn his own supporters against him by using humor to make him look like a pathetic loser. People like Trump feed off of anger directed at him, and feed off of other direct attacks. But they can’t stand being ridiculed. And when the humor carries an obvious underlying truth about their lack of character or lack of “cool,” or some other flaw, then their supporters stop seeing the candidate as a strong messenger and start seeing him as an embarrassment. … Find a way to convince would-be supporters of the offensive candidate that electing him will harm their own well-being, especially their economic well-being. He can’t be their champion if he would actually hurt their pocketbooks.

Second, if you haven’t yet, you need to recognize that Trump has hit a genuine chord with many voters. His proposal is not serious, but the issue is serious. You will have to promote other serious answers. Voters are pretty sure they know where Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and maybe even Ted Cruz are on this — and they don’t consider that a serious answer. If there is no alternative, Trump’s will be seen as the only offer on the table, and he will not go away. I do not think this is how Scott Walker wanted to focus his campaign, but there’s a crying need for leadership, and the shape of the field is such that he may be the one best positioned to provide it. The ball’s in your court, Governor.

Third, you do need to show this is out of the Republican mainstream. But you won’t be able to do that by attacking it as you would an outrageous proposal from a serious candidate. You do it by not taking it too seriously. By poking gentle fun at it. By marveling that someone who thought Mitt Romney was too tough is now playing this game. And it is a game: “Deporting” people to let them back in immediately is as big a sham as any politician has ever come up with. By laughing at the absurdities and the inconsistencies. By pointing out that he’s become a politician — just one with big, incredible, amazing, marvelous empty promises.

But, that said, you do want to make people think. This plan requires a massive, unworkable expansion of government power. Don’t attack just on principle — “You objected to Obama’s unilateral amnesty, but you’ll support Trump’s unilateral overreach?” Consider how this overreach could eventually affect ordinary Americans.

This is a big-government plan, and we can secure the border without that.

There are 26 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Yes, Yes, Yes. I’ll have what she’s having.

    • #1
  2. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    And well done to Ian Tuttle:

    Maddening as he is, Donald Trump seems to have intuited that consensus and its deficiencies, and his “three core principles” are admirable — they express forcefully and succinctly the existential question that is at the root of the immigration debate. The question for Trump is whether these good principles have led to good policies. At a glance, there is some sense in his plan (nationwide e-Verify, an end to catch-and-release policies, defunding sanctuary cities) and a fair amount of nonsense. 

    I’m not sure I am prepared to endorse all three of the “core principles.”  Technically I think you could have a “nation” without borders, but that’s a quibble — we don’t want to.  But #3, with the added summary, has a whiff of liberalism to it.

    Still, Tuttle’s approach is right on target.

    • #2
  3. Bigfoot Coolidge
    Bigfoot
    @Bigfoot

    What the Republican party must realize is that many supporters will freely acknowledge that Trump’s ‘plan’ is flawed, even ridiculous in parts. He gets support because he represents a raised finger in the direction of the promises of the past several elections which produced majorities and no action at all just as the linked article mentions(the ‘smart advice‘ link). Trump’s current support represents more than mild dissatisfaction. This support is a recognition that the majority of the Republican office holders in Washington are little more than court eunuchs and increasing their numbers will add nothing to their virility. (Apologies to the women, maybe if there had been more Fiorinas, et al in office we would not be in this position)

    Whoever the eventual nominee happens to be must have sensible REAL proposals for jobs, taxes, trade, energy and certainly immigration. Government burden simply must be reduced in significant if not dramatic numbers. If the nominee is another amnesty or amnesty lite supporter with more of the same on the other topics, we will see a large block of Republicans and independents either staying at home or taking a barf bag to the polls while they push the lever for Sanders or Biden or whoever. We perhaps could have made progress with steady incrementalism in our direction as progressives have in theirs, but our leadership was simply unable to deliver. Instead they capitulate.

    Regarding the zombies in the beauty contest; most, if nominated, will preside over the ushering in of another ‘Obama’ term while we await the decay of the USA and hope for rebuilding in a more sane manner eventually.

    We likely are faced with a wave of totalitarian thought and rule which will ultimately engulf the USA and most of the continental western peoples. It will take a few more election cycles and perhaps even another generation but if reversal is not begun now it will not happen.

    Our hope may be what rises from the ashes of a once great civilization.

    • #3
  4. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Bigfoot: This support is a recognition that the majority of the Republican office holders in Washington are little more than court eunuchs and increasing their numbers will add nothing to their virility.

    This is my one quibble: I don’t think this is necessarily true.  If you see that you can run on conservative policies and win, it does much to stiffen your spine.  And the more mostly conservative senators we have, the greater margin of error when some vote like Collins and Murkowski.

    That said, there are states in this country with permanent sizeable Republican majorities that spend more time feuding than governing (and sometimes the conservative side deserves some of the blame).  And in the meanwhile, the conservative government that has perhaps accomplished the most against the biggest odds did so with a Senate majority of one vote — in Wisconsin.  (Technically two, but one voted like a Democrat.)

    But without that majority — however narrow — they wouldn’t have accomplished anything.

    • #4
  5. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Leigh:And well done to Ian Tuttle:

    I’m not sure I am prepared to endorse all three of the “core principles.” Technically I think you could have a “nation” without borders, but that’s a quibble — we don’t want to. But #3, with the added summary, has a whiff of liberalism to it.

    Still, Tuttle’s approach is right on target.

    As I said in a different thread, #3 alarms me to the core.

    • #5
  6. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    Leigh:And well done to Ian Tuttle:

    I’m not sure I am prepared to endorse all three of the “core principles.” Technically I think you could have a “nation” without borders, but that’s a quibble — we don’t want to. But #3, with the added summary, has a whiff of liberalism to it.

    Still, Tuttle’s approach is right on target.

    As I said in a different thread, #3 alarms me to the core.

    And yet I’m sure it will be fiercely defended, because Trump is not evaluated like any other politician.  Clearly he’s just saying that the government’s first duty is towards its own people, right?

    No, actually it’s not.

    • #6
  7. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Leigh: Clearly he’s just saying that the government’s first duty is towards its own people, right?

    Any government has specific, well-defined duties towards its people.  People who don’t recognize that it is specific and defined end up with The Life of Julia.

    • #7
  8. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    True.  But nearly every politician will make similar noises about “improving” things and creating jobs.  Scott Walker famously promised to create 250,000 jobs — and undoubtedly regrets it — but hasn’t expanded government in that pursuit.

    It’s just with Trump, the philosophical grounding, such as it is, seems to point in the other direction.

    • #8
  9. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Mainfeed for Leigh…Congratulations!

    • #9
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Leigh: If there is no alternative, Trump’s will be seen as the only offer on the table,

    Exactly so.

    • #10
  11. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Oh, and here is one way another candidate actually could out-Trump Trump: there is one thing neither he nor anyone else has done.  Trump trades in bizarre conspiracy theories about the Mexican government, but he has not really addressed the real radical agenda behind certain fringe groups liberals are prepared to tolerate.

    A candidate who calls that out could score points in two ways: first, he would be “speaking truth to power” in a way Trump has not.  Second, at the moment when the conservative side is being painted at its most extreme, context always helps.  So bring up La Raza.  You don’t have to go on a major tear, just make a few points calmly and rebut them.  The southern border is not changing.

    • #11
  12. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    Trump may be future of the progressive movement.  The Soviet Union is Dead; the anti military, anti capitalist, anti American positions no longer serve any real interests.  Obama tried it and all he has working in his favor is inertia and the generally weak learning ability of our media and academia.  Trump knows that you can’t really consolidate power with these anti American stances.   He’s the man on horse back that will consolidate power in order to fix things.  That always works out really well.   

     

    • #12
  13. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    “This is exactly the plan America needs.” Senator Jeff Sessions (R – Alabama) on Trump’s immigration reform.

    • #13
  14. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Leigh,
    “Technically I think you could have a “nation” without borders, but that’s a quibble — we don’t want to. ”

    I cannot lay my finger upon the strain of conservatism that this claims to be. A little help?
    It’s not a quibble. It’s fundamental. Your familiar expert GOP-stroking seems not so conservative as merely pro-party. A nation without borders? Really?

    Can’t wait for you to come clean.

    • #14
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Leigh, if your position is conservatism, you should be doing handsprings at Trump’s recognition of basic principles.
    Or do you simply goad conservatives about not being sufficiently conservative *for our own good*, but without drinkingnthenstuff yourself?

    • #15
  16. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I will not support Trump in any fashion whatsoever.  I don’t care who is running against him, even Hillary.  Cardinal Dolan called out Trump as a remake of the Know-Nothings and Donald Trump has proven him right now that he’s come out with details.  I don’t know where the Trump phenomena goes, but the longer it continues the more the damage to the Republican Party.  I can tell you this.  If he gets the Republican nomination, we will lose and lose badly.  Even most Republicans don’t support such a plan, and certainly the left wont.  This is combining the worst of the left and the right.  This is protectionist and a police state.

    • #16
  17. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    That OP picture of the supersize government soda is…phenomenal. ;)

    • #17
  18. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Byron York writing about the Broockman and Ahler survey of American attitudes on immigration in the Washington Examiner:

    “The largest single group, 24.4 percent, supported the most draconian option — closed borders and mass deportation — that is dismissed by every candidate in the race, including Trump. Add in the next group that.…would allow only a “small number” of highly skilled immigrants to enter the U.S. and also involves mass deportations, and the number increased to 38.2 percent. Then add Option Five, which would allow only highly skilled immigrants while physically blocking the border, and the number increased to 55.2 percent.

    “’Many citizens support policies that seem to fall outside of the range of policy options considered in elite discourse,’ Broockman and Ahler conclude.

    “It’s probably fair to say that, if Broockman and Ahler are correct, a majority of Americans — not just Republican voters, but all Americans — hold views that are consistent with Trump’s position, or are even more restrictive. Opponents like [Lindsey] Graham portray Trump’s immigration position as far out of the mainstream, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

    (Continued below)

    • #18
  19. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    (Continued)

    But please, Rubio, Bush, Kasich supporters, please continue to tell conservatives and traditional Americans that what we want is not conservative, that it is impractical, unconstitutional and probably immoral; but what Democrats and those alienated from American values want – such as increased legal immigration, in-state tuition for illegals, driver’s licenses for illegals, welfare benefits for illegal and legal immigrants, and a pathway to citizenship for those who entered the country illegally – tell us those things are sensible, constitutional and even moral. Go right ahead, tell us.

    Then see what happens to you on Election Day.

    • #19
  20. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Ball Diamond Ball: I cannot lay my finger upon the strain of conservatism that this claims to be. A little help? It’s not a quibble. It’s fundamental. Your familiar expert GOP-stroking seems not so conservative as merely pro-party. A nation without borders? Really?

    [edited]

    By “technically” I mean literally: as a dictionary definition.

    a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.

    Technically, a “nation” is a people group. For example, the Kurds can be considered a nation.  Once you have established borders and a political system, you are technically a nation-state.  (Side note: some people would say that the United States does not qualify as a nation-state as France does, for instance.)  Not every state is a nation-state; sometimes you even have more than one nation within a state.  You can indeed have a nation without borders: if a foreign entity conquers you, for instance, you may no longer have meaningful borders — but you’re still a nation.  But that’s not a good place to be — which is why I said it’s a quibble.  It’s a pedantic point about precision in language.

    If you said a nation cannot be secure without borders, for instance, that would be accurate.  But they certainly can exist, and have.  No philosophical point here, it’s just English.

    • #20
  21. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Leigh, I don’t recall saying I don’t read your posts. Perhaps I did. But I don’t recall it.

    • #21
  22. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    [Redacted for CoC]
    You did not intend to speak of nations in the sense you leap to in the dictionary. I know what a nation is, what nationalism is, and I approve earthily of both concepts. I realize that these are dirty words among the open borders crowd, so I suspect that you will disapprove.
    The context is clearly a conversation started by you about the United States of America, the nation-state entity in question when we speak of elections.
    [Redacted for CoC]

    • #22
  23. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Ball Diamond Ball:Leigh, I don’t recall saying I don’t read your posts.Perhaps I did.But I don’t recall it.

    Double-checked.  It wasn’t you.  Someone else with a name that looked similar at 5am this morning.  Will take the comment down.  It just struck me as bizarre — should have verified before asking.

    • #23
  24. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    On the substance: I meant exactly what I said when I wrote it.  If I had meant whatever you think I mean, I would stand by it.

    I don’t support open borders.  I think my post and my previous comments speak for themselves on this.  (See what I said about La Raza on the last page.)

    • #24
  25. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    At any rate, I feel that your explanation was not made in the supposed spirit of Ricochet, and that you opened yourself to criticism on that ground, which criticism was eviscerated for compliance.
    I salute your professionalism. Good job.

    • #25
  26. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Leigh: Technically I think you could have a “nation” without borders, but that’s a quibble — we don’t want to.

    Let me rephrase this, yet again:  Poland spent many years as a nation without borders.  It remained a nation.  That is just self-evidently true.  Technically it can happen.  But we don’t want to be Poland.

    That is exactly what I meant, and exactly what I explained in much more detail in response to you.  I really still do not see how that could possibly have been read as either dishonest or out of the Ricochet spirit.

    I called on other candidates to be firmer on immigration, not weaker.  I suggested they directly call out La Raza — I would have thought you’d agree about that, at least.

    If, after all that, you still insist despite my pretty clear statement that I’m dishonestly holding some support for open borders, there is no point in continuing the discussion.

    I realize we disagree, and this post was addressed to people who disagree with you even further than I do.  I would not have expected you to find much to like in it.  Let’s agree to disagree, but I’d prefer to do it with a mutual understanding of good faith.

    • #26

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.