August 31, 2016

Trump in Mexico - Winning Hearts and Minds

Donald Trump in Arizona later tonight is expected to make a pivot speech on illegal immigration.  He's expected to soften on illegal immigrants who have been in America for a long time and not broken any laws.  He's doing so after returning from Mexico for an impromptu meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, at the latter's invitation. Trump did so in a bold attempt to win hearts and minds - in America, not Mexico. But in doing so, he was able to find common ground with Niento - the start of any good negotiation.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton declined the same invitation and took pot shots at Trump for going. But this was a win for Trump. He appeared presidential - something Clinton and other Democrats have been claiming he was incapable of being. He was reasoned, and balanced. That alone is a huge win. It also plays to Hispanics in America who might be scratching their heads as to why Clinton didn't also accept the invite from Niento. Clinton cannot reverse herself and attend now - it will appear indecisive and also smack of me-too-ism. She's unlikely to do so anyway - she seems to be afraid of any sort of interaction where she cannot control the conversation to her script. One wonders how she might react to an actual invite if she were president. Trump also seemed in control of the entire press conference; presidential.

Trump once again played to his strengths and reinforced his self-defined image as a negotiator. There was agreement on 5 points. If he can negotiate with someone who he has more or less been insulting for a year, perhaps there's truth in his claims about his renegotiation bad deals America has made. Hopefully Obama's Cuban capitulation ends up on that list.

It's also shows that Trump is willing to take a risk, and succeed. This was a clear cut win for Trump. Despite a late tweet from Niento that he did declare to Trump that he would not pay for the wall, Trump did say it was not discussed. It is important to parse that - if Trump did not return the conversation then it was not a discussion. In any case, it will be interesting to see the details of Trump's immigration speech in Arizona shortly, on the heels of the Niento meeting.

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