Monday, September 26, 2016

Poll: Hillary and Trump are both untrustworthy
As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump head toward their first debate on Monday, they accuse each other of being dishonest and untrustworthy. A new poll by Gallup shows that voters agree with both candidates on this issue. Most don’t believe that either candidate is honest or trustworthy.

About a third of 1,033 adults polled considered each of the candidates honest and trustworthy. Thirty-three percent felt the terms applied to Clinton and 35 percent agreed that they described Trump. The difference was well within the four percent margin of error.

The candidates were closely matched on many of the other questions asked by the survey as well. Voters were almost evenly split on whether the candidates “can get things done,” are a “strong and decisive leader,” or “can bring about the changes this country needs.”

Donald Trump’s largest edge over Hillary was on the question of who “is healthy enough to be president.” He led that question with a 17-point margin. He also edged out Mrs. Clinton on who “stands up to special interest groups” by six points.

Hillary Clinton won four categories by comfortable margins. Voters felt that she had the experience required to be president by a 69 to 29 margin, the largest split of any question in the poll. When asked who “would display good judgment in a crisis,” Hillary beat Trump by 15 points. Respondents also felt that Hillary “cares about the needs of people like you” by an eight-point margin.

Mrs. Clinton also won on the question of who was more likable by 12 points (50-38 percent). Perhaps then-Senator Barack Obama was right when he condescendingly told her in a 2008 debate, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.”

Friday, September 23, 2016

It's still Hillary's race to lose

(Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia)
Numerous stories over the past few weeks have shown a surge in the polls for Donald Trump. Trump now leads Clinton in a number of polls and the Real Clear Politics average shows Hillary ahead by a scant one percent, a statistical dead heat. In spite of Trump’s surge, the race remains Hillary’s to lose and if the election were held today, she would almost certainly win. The reason is the Electoral College.

The Clinton advantage is derived from the fact that the presidential election is not a single election but a series of 51 separate elections in the states and the District of Columbia plus a final election in the Electoral College. The entire election hinges on a handful of swing states. To win the Electoral College election, Donald Trump has to win several states that Barack Obama won twice. The states of Florida and Ohio, won both times by Obama, are particularly important due to their large number of electoral votes. Without winning these two states there is almost no chance that Mr. Trump can win the presidency.

The typical list of swing states includes Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. The problem for Trump is that all of these states, with the sole exception of North Carolina in 2012, were won twice by Barack Obama.

The crux of the problem for Trump is that any Democrat starts with a lock on more electoral votes than a Republican does. This is thanks to the Democratic strongholds in the Northeast and on the West Coast, population centers that are rich in electoral votes.

Trump’s first task is not to lose any red states from previous elections. Unfortunately, polling shows that Clinton is threatening Trump’s lead in both Georgia and Arizona. She has also polled strongly in Missouri and Texas.

After securing the red states, Trump’s next chore is to turn swing states red. He is having some success in Florida and Ohio. Florida, which was very close in 2012, is currently in a dead heat. Trump has also surged in Ohio in recent weeks, but the state is still a statistical tie, as is North Carolina. Trump does hold a convincing lead in Iowa, where he holds a six-point advantage in the RCP average.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, holds convincing leads in New Hampshire and Virginia. She also has a two-point advantage in the RCP average for Colorado.

Even if Trump holds the red states and wins all of the swing states where he leads or is in a dead heat today, he would still lose the election. Trump victories in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio would not give him the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. Without losing any red states, Trump would have 264 electoral votes.

Three states would provide a possible pickup of six more electoral votes. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are all considered to be in play. Each of these Rust Belt states has been considered a possible Republican pickup in recent elections, but they have all remained in the Democrat column.

Trump has pinned his hopes on Pennsylvania from the beginning. It still looks like a long shot. Hillary leads in all recent polling by seemingly comfortable margins. The story is similar in Michigan and Wisconsin where Clinton leads, but by slightly smaller margins than Pennsylvania. As it stands, these states will all stay blue.

It will take a near sweep of the swing states by Donald Trump to win an Electoral College victory. With the debates looming and the possibility of more embarrassing email releases for Hillary Clinton, a continuing Trump surge is not impossible.

Considering the number of states that Trump needs to flip, the odds are against Trump running the table to pull off an upset victory. A win by Trump would require victories in states that have trended more and more blue in past elections. Hillary still has a distinct advantage even as Trump surges in the polls.    

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How to vote "None of the Above" 
Early voting will begin soon in many states. This year beginning of the voting season poses a problem for many voters who fall into the “None of the Above” category. If you’re like me, you can’t vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but you still want to do your civic duty and cast a ballot in the election. There are several ballot options and one final chance to prevent a Clinton or Trump presidency.

Not voting at all is not a pleasant option for a patriotic American. When you don’t vote at all, you don’t count. You aren’t a part of the mandate that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might receive, but you don’t figure into the opposition either. The absence of your vote just means that no one knows where you stood. You are assumed to be one of the roughly half of eligible American voters who sit out every election and assumed to be apathetic.

There is another reason to vote. The presidential election isn’t the only one on the ballot. Even if you can’t stand either presidential candidate, there are good candidates down the ticket in state and local elections. Many of them deserve your vote.

Your vote counts for more in state and local elections than in a presidential election. A presidential election has never been decided by one vote. Smaller elections have.

In state and local elections, the pool of eligible voters is smaller so your vote is more valuable. In a presidential election, you are one out of the millions in your state, which is only one of 50. In a local election, your vote might be one out of a hundred. Even if you completely skip the presidential race, educate yourself on state and local candidates and then go vote.

If you absolutely don’t want to cast a ballot for Trump or Clinton, but still want to vote in the presidential election, there are several options. Among the options is a strategy for the last ditch effort to prevent either Lying Donald or Crooked Hillary from becoming president.

Contrary to popular belief, the presidential election is not a binary choice. There are other parties and the race only becomes a binary race if we refuse to consider the other options. If ever other options should be considered, it is this year.

The most well-known of the other options is Gary Johnson who, together with Bill Weld, forms the Libertarian ticket. Both men are former Republican governors with real world legislative experience. The Libertarians normally poll at less than one percent, but this year Johnson is flirting with the 15 percent threshold needed for inclusion in the presidential debates. The Libertarians combine a platform of economic freedom and with social liberalism and isolationist foreign policy.  

A second option is Green Party candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka. The Greens have been described as “watermelons” because they are green on the outside and red on the inside. The Green Party tends toward socialism and is merely a blip in the polls.

For conservatives, there is the Conservative Party and its nominee Darrell Castle. Castle is probably the most unknown of the major third party candidates, not having registered in a single poll that I have seen. The Conservative Party platform is conservative with a bent toward conspiracy theories. They list opposition to Agenda 21 as a “key issue.”

There is also a fourth option. Independent conservative Evan McMullin was a late entry to the race. McMullin announced his candidacy in August after an alternative to Trump failed to emerge at the Republican National Convention. McMullin is a congressional staffer and former CIA agent. McMullin is conservative who seeks to represent the free trade, small government, foreign policy hawks of the GOP who are disillusioned with Trump as well as anyone who wants an honest candidate.

The third party candidates serve two purposes. They are both potential spoilers and protest votes.

If you’re like me and don’t want either Trump or Hillary to win because you view them both as equally unfit for office, then a third party candidate is a way to vote against them both. If enough voters vote against both major party candidates this way, then a third party candidate might win a state’s electoral votes and impact the results of the election. Even without winning a whole state, the mere presence of third party candidates impacts the race as shown by a number of polls that show a diminished lead for Hillary when third party candidates are included.

How would one of these third party candidates win? It’s obvious that none of them could hope to garner the 270 electoral votes required to win outright in the Electoral College. The answer lies within the Constitution. The 12th Amendment specifies that if no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes, the election then goes to the House of Representatives. Each state’s House delegation would get one vote and the top three electoral vote recipients would be eligible.

The rub comes in when the House of Representatives decides on the winner. How would split House delegations vote? Would they simply elect the unpopular candidate with the (R) after his name? Would they elect the candidate with the most electoral votes, regardless of party? Would they acknowledge that the voters have rejected both unpopular main party candidates and elect a third party candidate?

There are those who say that a third party vote is a wasted vote. They say that a vote for a third party is a vote for whichever candidate they don’t happen to support. In the past, I have agreed with them and said the same things. 2016 is a year with its own rules, however.

This year, my view is that wasting your vote is using it to vote for a candidate that you don’t like, who says things that you don’t agree with and who you don’t trust to lead the country. With two equally deplorable alternatives to choose from, I plan to use my vote to vote against them both.

If either Trump or Clinton ends up winning, and the odds are that one of them almost certainly will, then at least I can point to the larger than normal percentage of third party votes and say that I rejected them both. The parties will know that many, many voters looked at their flawed, dishonest candidates and refused to give their consent to be governed by them. Maybe the parties will learn from this election. Maybe they won’t.

My advice is to pick the third party candidate with the best chance to deny your state’s electoral votes to both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. That may require voting across ideological lines for strategic reasons. If you live in Oregon, Jill Stein might be the strongest choice. Gary Johnson should be strong in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire. Evan McMullin may do well in his home state of Utah, a red state where Donald Trump is not popular. Check your state polling at Real Clear Politics to find out how the candidates stack up.

In the end, if no third party candidate is close to winning, you can vote your conscience. If the parties have cast aside their principles to nominate two corrupt progressives, voters are not required to cast aside their principles to affirm those poor choices.

For what does it profit a party to win an election, but to lose its soul?

Originally published on The Resurgent

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How September 11 gave us Obama, Clinton and Trump

(Michael Foran/Wikimedia)
The memory of September 11, 2001 is burned indelibly into the minds of anyone who was old enough to remember it. In the space of a few hours, the course of American history changed and the country was set on a new course that diverted drastically from where we saw ourselves going as a nation. Everyone knows that the September 11 attacks started the War on Terror, a conflict that is still going on today, but they did much more than that.

The fall of 2001 saw America at peace and prosperous. Both soon changed. An often forgotten result of the attacks was the crash of the stock market on September 17 after markets reopened. At the time, this was the largest single-day stock market crash in U.S. history. The response of the Federal Reserve to the impending recession was to lower interest rates to stimulate the economy. Prosperity soon returned amid the fighting in Afghanistan and, two years later, Iraq.

One segment of the economy that was aided by the low interest rates was real estate. Together with government policies that encouraged subprime mortgage lending, the low interest rates fed a housing bubble. The bubble burst in 2008 and led to the Great Recession. Almost seven years to the day, two more stock market crashes displaced the 2001 crash as the largest in American history.

As the economy sputtered to a halt, a relatively unknown senator surged forward in the polls. Barack Obama emerged from the stock market crash as a beacon of hope for the country. Although he started as an antiwar candidate, without the economic crisis and John McCain’s missteps in responding to it, it seems unlikely that the radical and inexperienced Obama would have been elected president.

Obama’s presidency fundamentally transformed America. His Supreme Court nominees redefined marriage and overturned thousands of years of tradition. His government takeover of the health insurance industry caused healthcare prices to skyrocket. His regulation of business strangled the economic recovery and left millions without jobs. Obama added more to the national debt than all other presidents combined.

His foreign policy was felt around the world. His withdrawal from Iraq allowed ISIS to flourish. His failure to intervene in Syria allowed that civil war to fester and become a humanitarian and security crisis. Under Obama’s watch, Vladimir Putin set out to recapture the Soviet sphere of influence from the Cold War and invaded Ukraine, an American and NATO ally. Likewise, China expanded into the South China Sea with manmade islands to serve as military bases. Iran continued on the course to become a nuclear power.

In the middle of Obama’s first-term foreign policy was Hillary Clinton, the new secretary of state, who he had bested for the Democratic nomination in 2008. The truce between the two rivals established Hillary as the almost certain successor to Obama as the Democratic standard bearer in 2016.

If Obama’s administration led to problems around the world, it also caused the crackup of the Republican Party at home. Without a majority in Congress that could override the presidential veto or overcome a Democratic filibuster, Republicans were powerless to stop the president’s abuse of executive power. Republicans were able to block new legislation, but unable to roll back laws that the Democratic Congress had passed early in Obama’s first term.

The impotence of the Republican opposition led to anger from the conservative grassroots. First, Ted Cruz rose to prominence as a first-term senator who made a name for himself by dividing the party against the “establishment” that he claimed was in a league with the Democrats. When Cruz’s strategy of a shutdown failed in 2013, he only became more popular by using the Republican leadership as a scapegoat. As the 2016 presidential race formed, Cruz was an early favorite. He was trumped by another outsider candidate, however.

Businessman Donald J. Trump emerged from nowhere to seize the mantle of the anti-establishment candidate. To many Republicans, it didn’t matter that Trump was a New York liberal who had supported Hillary Clinton up until he decided to become a Republican candidate. Trump capitalized on voter anger at both Obama and the Republicans.

Without Osama bin Laden and the September 11 attacks, U.S. history would be very different. Obama would not have risen to prominence without the war. Without the attacks, the housing correction might never have become the Great Recession. John McCain might have been elected in 2008. Without eight years of Obama, America would not be faced with the choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, the two most unpopular and unqualified candidates in history.

In 2001, we could scarcely see how destructive the legacy of attacks would be or how long their consequences would impact the country. War, recession, bad leadership and national division all stemmed from the actions of 19 hijackers.

The country has not been the same since September 11 and never will be.

(Michael Vadon/Wikimedia)
One surprising aspect of Donald Trump’s road to the Republican nomination is the role of evangelical Christian voters as core his supporters. In spite of Trump’s secular lifestyle and unfamiliarity with Christianity and even basic conservative issues,  a substantial percentage of Christian voters put Trump on top of experienced conservatives like Jeb Bush and former Tea Party favorites like Ted Cruz. An obvious question is whether Christian conservatives have abandoned their principles, both of conservatism and religious righteousness, for Trump and moral relativism.

The case against Donald Trump is well known. Beyond his abrasive personality, there are serious questions about his character and political beliefs. The “savior” of the conservative cause is a three-times married man, a serial liar and a flip-flopper who has openly claimed to have bought the influence of elected officials, notably Hillary Clinton.

Alan Noble compiled a list of Trump’s immoral behavior at Vox: “Trump has boasted of infidelities, profited off gambling, mocked the handicapped, cheered and offered financial assistance for his supporters who fight protestors, supported abortion (until his fortuitous change of heart before the election), called for war crimes against innocent people, demonized minorities and immigrants, knowingly played upon racist fears, promoted open racists through social media, promoted conspiracy theories, and crudely treated women. And the list grows every single day.” Much of Trump’s behavior, both during the campaign and before, would be denounced by Christian conservatives in a normal political cycle.

This is not a normal year.

Trump supporters can be divided into two broad categories. There are the “true believers,” also called “Trumpkins,” who supported Trump from the early days of the primary. Alternatively, there are the “anyone but Hillary” voters, who don’t necessarily like Trump, but who believe that, with all his flaws, he is better than Hillary Clinton.

To issue-oriented conservatives, the second position is understandable. The first is not. That’s why it is surprising to find that many of Trump’s earliest supporters were Christians and conservatives who would normally have rejected someone like Trump as impure both morally and politically. In truth, it was these voters who provided the core of support that enabled Trump to defeat many more reliable conservative politicians.

One of my coworkers, Jay, is among the group of true believers. When Trump emerged as a candidate last year, Jay, a conservative Christian, was enthralled. When we were on business trips together, Jay watched Trump press conferences on a daily basis and chortled at Trump’s witticisms. Like most Republicans, Jay didn’t seem to think that Trump could win, but he enjoyed the show.

At some point between last summer and the winter and spring primaries, it became acceptable for Christians not only to be amused by Trump, but to vote for him. An analysis of exit polls by Christian Post found that an average of 36 percent of evangelical Christians voted for Trump. This was a large enough segment of the Christian vote to give Trump victories in many of the early states, such as South Carolina, where Trump came in first among evangelicals.

The story of how Trump made the transition from pariah to messiah among a third of conservative Christians begins with and endorsement by Jerry Falwell, Jr., son of the Moral Majority and Liberty University founder just before the Iowa caucuses last January.

In Rolling Stone, Falwell defended his endorsement, saying many evangelicals see how “personable” Trump is “and how generous he's been to a lot of people in his personal life. I think that's what makes somebody a good Christian.” This in spite of the fact that Trump seemed not to understand basic tenets of Christianity such as forgiveness and repentance.

Indeed, forgiveness was lacking when Mark DeMoss, a longtime chief of staff to Jerry Falwell, Sr., spoke out against the junior Falwell’s Trump endorsement. DeMoss was allegedly forced to resign his position at Liberty University. “As I consider the matter,” DeMoss said in Charisma News, “I wonder why it is acceptable to the Liberty board for Jerry Falwell to endorse a candidate as an individual not speaking for the university, but it is not fine for a board member to express an opinion as an individual not speaking for the university.”

Moral relativism, the belief that ethics depend on situations rather than objective truth, seems to have been at play in much of the Christian support for Donald Trump as well as in Liberty’s dismissal of DeMoss. Hillary is admonished for her lies, but Trump’s numerous falsehoods are glossed over. Hillary’s corruption is denounced, but Trump’s corruption is excused. Hillary is a liberal, but so are many of Trump’s stated positions on the issues. Trump is excused for these and other sins because he is “not Hillary.”

In his defense of his endorsement of Trump, Falwell said Trump is “ethical and honest” in spite of numerous charges of shady business dealings. At the same time, he said that the country needed “experienced and capable leaders,” yet Trump was the only Republican candidate with no legislative experience whatsoever.

Falwell also noted that Ronald Reagan, although divorced, “saved this nation when it was in nearly the same condition as it is today.” Falwell failed to note that Reagan’s divorce occurred in 1948 after an affair by his wife, Jane Wyman. To Falwell, this is morally equivalent to Trump’s divorces and his own extramarital affairs, conquests that Trump has bragged openly about. Nevermind the details, it is a similar enough situation to justify the endorsement in Falwell’s mind.

Penny Young Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, attended a meeting between Trump and evangelical leaders in June. She wrote in Christian Post that not a single Christian leader present questioned Trump about his alleged conversion from pro-choice to pro-life. This in spite the fact that Trump was the only Republican candidate to favor continued funding for Planned Parenthood, saying that the abortion provider “has done very good work” only three months earlier. Trump’s pro-choice history was ignored by Christian leaders, even as they criticize Hillary’s pro-choice platform.

How does Jay reconcile his Christian beliefs with his support for Donald Trump? He gave me an article by James Patrick Riley which likened Trump opponents to the Biblical Pharisees. Jesus denounced the “holier-than-thou” Pharisees for being hypocrites. Riley accuses Never Trump Christians being “dismissive” and “self-righteous” people who “have imbibed legalism as doctrine.” He also argues that Trump is “more righteous than you think” because he wants to enact a conservative agenda. Moral relativism rears its head once again. Trump is acceptable because he says the right things.

In the end, the exit polls suggest that those Christians who supported Trump early on were Christians who did not place a great emphasis on having a candidate who shared their religious beliefs. What kind of Christian would not prefer a Christian president? Perhaps those whose faith has been driven underground by the secular culture and divorced from practical day-to-day living, Christians who believe they are “rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” but do not know that they “are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:14-22).

In any case, regardless of the outcome of the election, “lukewarm” Christians will share a large part of the blame. Without their support for an obvious charlatan, Trump would never have been nominated. Without the nomination of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton would not have stood a chance.

The irony is that Trump supporters, both Christian and secular, may be enabling that which they fear most. No matter who wins in November, the country is likely to be stuck with a lawless leftist who will be destructive for America.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Can Republicans hold the Senate?

Marco Rubio (Gage/Skidmore/Wikimedia)
Lost in the furor over the presidential election is the fact that the fate of the Senate also hangs in the balance this November. Republicans, who currently hold a four seat majority, are in danger of losing control of the upper house of Congress. Republicans are defending more seats than Democrats this year and the looming prospect of a loss by Donald Trump may carry over into Senate races down the ticket. Can Republicans hold the Senate?

This year Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats as opposed to Democrats who are defending only 10 seats. Only half of the contested Republican seats are considered safe while seven of the Democrat seats are safe. Six Republican seats, enough to flip control of the Senate, are either tossups or leaning Democrat. Only one Democrat seat, currently held by Harry Reid of Nevada, is considered a likely pickup for the GOP.

Here are rundowns on the six threatened Republican seats:
  • ·         Florida: Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy will likely emerge from today’s primary as their party nominees. Current polling gives an edge to Rubio.
  • ·         Illinois: Senator Mark Kirk, elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, is being challenged by Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Illinois is a deep blue state, but the race is currently considered a tossup.
  • ·         New Hampshire: Senator Kelly Ayotte, another member of the class of 2010, is facing Gov. Maggie Hassan. Ayotte was one of the Republicans hesitantly endorsed by Donald Trump over the summer. She has also given him a tepid endorsement. The race is currently a tossup with Hassan favored by one point in the Real Clear Politics average.
  • ·         Ohio: Current Senator Rob Portman is being challenged by former governor Ted Strickland. Polling is favoring Portman who is increasing the gap, but the race is still considered a tossup.
  • ·         Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey, another member of the class of 2010, is being challenged by Katie McGinty, a former business executive and lobbyist who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014. McGinty has held several appointed positions in Pennsylvania. The race is currently a tossup with McGinty leading by one point according to Real Clear Politics.
  • ·         Wisconsin: Another Tea Party senator, Ron Johnson, is facing Russ Feingold, the Democrat that he beat in 2010. Feingold is a double-digit favorite.

In addition, Republican seats in Missouri and North Carolina are also threatened, but are currently leaning Republican. Both senators may be suffering from the association with Donald Trump, who favored by only three points in Missouri and is trailing Hillary by two points in the North Carolina average.
  • ·         Missouri: Roy Blunt is being challenged by Jason Kander, the current secretary of state and an army reserve officer. The Real Clear Politics average favors Blunt, but by less than five points. 
  • ·         North Carolina: Richard Burr is defending against Deborah Ross, a former state representative. Burr leads by an average of two points.

On the Democratic side, Nevada is the only tossup. The retirement of Harry Reid leaves an open seat that is being contested by Democrat Catherine Masto, the attorney-general, and Republican Joe Heck, a current congressman. The race is currently a dead heat.

Which just over two months to go before the election, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio look reasonably safe for Republicans. Wisconsin is probably lost. Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and the Democratic seat in Nevada are all too close to call. It should be noted that all three tossup states vote reliably Democrat in presidential elections. A sweep of all three states by the Democrats is not unreasonable to expect.

If Democrats can hold Nevada, they would need to sweep all three of the other tossup states plus one additional state to win control of the Senate. Victory in all three tossup states would mean an evenly split Senate. Ties would be broken by the new vice president.

At this point, there is no way to accurately predict the final outcome, which may be tied closely to the presidential race and upcoming debates. These races should be watched closely due to the high stakes of the election.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Trump flips on immigration

Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Rumors are swirling that Donald Trump is prepared to reverse his stance on illegal immigration, the cornerstone of his campaign. The Trump campaign began last summer with rhetoric that focused heavily on Mexico and illegal immigration. Trump made his promise of a wall on the Mexican border the centerpiece of his campaign.

The rumors that Trump is flip-flopping on immigration began Saturday night with a Buzzfeed article. Buzzfeed cited three sources who confirmed that Trump signaled his willingness to soften his immigration stance in a secret meeting in the Trump Tower with the newly formed National Hispanic Advisory Council For Trump. The article stated that Trump did not use the term “legalization,” but had indicated that he was open to a solution to the problem of illegal immigrants “that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner.”

Univision also cited three sources, some of which were also named by Buzzfeed. One source cited by both outlets was Jacob Monty, a Texas immigration lawyer. Monty said, “I really liked that Trump acknowledged that there is a big problem with the 11 million [undocumented] people who are here, and that deporting them is neither possible nor humane.” Monty claimed that the new Trump plan “wouldn't be citizenship but would allow them to be here without fear of deportation.”

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus confirmed to Univision that the meeting took place and that it was part of “our expansive effort to engage the Hispanic community.”
The reports sparked a quick denial from Mr. Trump. I'm not flip flopping," he told Fox News on the issue Monday. "We want to come up with a fair but firm process. Fair but firm.”

Trump and new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway were noncommittal on the specifics of the current version of the Trump immigration plan. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Conway replied “to be determined” when asked if Trump still advocated for “a deportation force removing the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants” in the US. Throughout the campaign Trump has been an immigration hardliner who called for the deportation of all illegal immigrants.

Univision also cited Helen Aguirre, an RNC spokeswoman who was present at the meeting. Aguirre confirmed that the Trump campaign was working on a new plan. “Trump was very categorical in saying that he's seeking a fair immigration reform," she said. "He wants to listen to everyone and announce his conclusions in the coming days."

By Sunday, Aguirre was reversing herself in a Breitbart piece. “Some folks talked about legalization, not citizenship, for the undocumented,” she said. “Mr. Trump did not say he was in favor of legalization. Some folks may have felt that he was open to it–and he gave zero indication of that.”
Aguirre told the Washington Post, “He listened to the comments and suggestions made by the various board members, but he never indicated what his immigration policy would be.”

Nevertheless, the comments by Aguirre and Conway confirmed that Trump’s immigration policy is changing. Conway said that “as the weeks unfold” Trump will reveal his new immigration plan. He is expected to address the topic this Thursday in Colorado.