Why is Donald Trump rocking his uneasy base?
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Today, in Arizona, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE will announce his policy on undocumented immigrants. Whatever Trump’s (final) policy may be, it is fraught with political implications. For Trump supporters, the last ten days must be a bit confusing.

First, your candidate, in an attempt to attract black voters, assumes the only issue of concern to black voters is crime, and that a Trump administration would drive crime out of their neighborhoods. The problem is most black voters do not live in crime-infested neighborhoods, and they saw Trump’s message as stereotyping, bordering on racism.

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Meanwhile, Trump supporters could care less about crime in black neighborhoods, unless, of course, it begins to affect their communities. Even more confusing, Mr. Trump delivered his message to black voters in front of a virtually all white audience in Iowa, a state with few black voters.

In an apparent effort to appeal to Hispanic voters, Trump indicated he was willing to “soften” his position on deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants. From the outset of his campaign and throughout the nominating process, the immediate deportation of undocumented immigrants became Trump’s signature issue.

Suggesting that he would now alter his position brought howls of protest from his conservative supporters and his primary opponents led by Senator Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Cruz on reported Kavanaugh allegations: There's nobody Democrats don't want to impeach MORE of Texas who charged that Trump used his hard line immigration policies only to secure the Republican nomination. Cruz believes Trump never intended to deport undocumented immigrants after he secured the GOP nomination.

In response to the outrage from his base, Mr. Trump, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Thursday, reverted to his original position that he would in fact deport all undocumented immigrants. Since Trump has taken so many contradictory positions on immigration, the Trump campaign, in an effort to address Trumps contradictory positions, decided on the Wednesday speech in Arizona.

If Trump reverts to his hard line position to deport all undocumented immigrants, his effort to reach out to the Hispanic community will go up in smoke. If Trump attempts to “soften” his position, he will alienate his hard line conservative base.        

What’s baffling about Trump’s overtures to the Hispanic community and to black voters (Trump will travel to Detroit on Saturday to meet with black clergy) is that he has little if any chance of changing the anti-Trump sentiment among voters of color. Several recent polls show Trump’s negative ratings among blacks in the mid to high 90’s and among Hispanics in the upper 80’s.

Mr. Trump sealed his fate among Hispanics when he suggested that the federal judge overseeing two civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University (which has since closed) could not be impartial because the judge was “Mexican.” Judge Gonzalo Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana in 1953. The Hispanic community immediately defended Judge Curiel and interpreted Trump’s “Mexican” comment as racist.

In the black community, Trump’s history of racial discrimination is deeply embedded. From Trump’s refusal to disavow former KKK grand wizard David Duke (who is currently sending thousands of robocalls to his supporters supporting Trump, which the Trump campaign belatedly opposed) and other white supremacist groups, to Trump’s pointing to a black man at a Trump rally on June 3rd in Redding, California saying, “Oh, look at my African-American over here.”

A recent New York Times expose traced the history of Trump and his father Fred’s history of discrimination against blacks in Trump owned apartment complexes. This was the final insult. Blacks have turned against Trump with a vengeance. He will be lucky to get 5% of the black vote.

So why is Trump threatening to unravel the coalition that helped him secure the Republican nomination? Surely, Trump and his inner circle must recognize it is far too late to turn negative perceptions of Trump among people of color around.

My guess is the real targets of these efforts are married white women living in the suburbs who tend to vote Republican, but view Trump as a right wing bully. Both McCain and Romney easily carried married white female voters in the suburbs by double digits. A recent Pew Research poll found Trump and Clinton virtually tied among this group.

Clinton leads among married white women with college degrees, a group that supported the last three Republican presidential candidates. She crushes Trump among single white suburban women, and carries women of color by huge margins.

Trump cannot win the White House without the strong support of suburban white women. Since 2016 appears to be the first election where minorities will constitute 30% of the vote, Trump will need to carry nearly 70% of the white vote to beat Clinton. That is a number already out of Trump's reach.

If Donald Trump wants to continue being the leader of the alt right, beyond his almost certain defeat in November, he best not go “soft” on his immigration proposal or the energy that has carried Trump this far will evaporate.

Yes, his supporters will stick with him, but if the energy among this group, fueled for the most part by Trump’s hard line immigration policies, is deflated by Trumps move to the center/right then he will have alienated the one group that until now has supported Trump and fueled his otherwise disastrous campaign.

This crowd will never vote for Clinton, but on Election Day, they just might go fishing.

Bob Beckel is a CNN political analyst.


 

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