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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Presidential Trump sets the tone for the fall in Mexico and Arizona

The Democrats have Khizr Khan. Donald Trump and the Republicans have the “Angel Moms” (and Dads). I’ll take the latter any day.

Trump concluded an incredible journey on Wednesday night by inviting a group of parents of children who had been murdered by illegal aliens onstage to join him for his final remarks on battling illegal immigration. Somewhat surprisingly, most if not all of them spoke briefly, telling about how their loved ones were tragically Trump and Nietoslain by someone or some group of illegal predators (not “undocumented workers” here, folks).

Many of them ended their talk with “I am voting for Donald Trump.”

It was quite a moment. I thought, ‘let’s see how the media is able to attack THIS one.’ Journalists have gone so thoroughly out of their way to ignore Gold Star Mother Patricia Smith who spoke about her son being killed in Benghazi because of Crooked Hillary’s malfeasance. But they can’t set these people aside. No way.

As I said above, the Democrats have one guy (and his silent wife, of course). Donald Trump brought out about a dozen.

Oh yeah, the content of Trump’s immigration speech was great, too.

For those who were expecting Trump to go all Jeb Bush on conservatives and Republicans, they were sorely disappointed. Trump laid out a ten-point, explicitly detailed plan to solve the problem of illegal immigration, focusing primarily on ending the biggest problems associated with it – crime and cost. At the finish, he basically said for those who are left after the border is completely sealed, we’ll have to come up with a solution then.

Trump emphasized, “NO AMNESTY.” Illegals would have to return to their home countries to apply for reentry through the normal process.

The audience went wild. To say this was Trump’s best campaign moment is an understatement. On Wednesday, the GOP nominee went to Mexico, made friends with the Mexican president, looked presidential and then flew to Arizona (the epicenter of illegal immigration) and without pandering complemented the Mexican people and proposed to end the problems for both countries.

The “Angel Moms” were the icing on the cake. Contrived as the moment was, it didn’t come off as phony. The parents were real. Their children were real; and the problem is real.

It was a terrific presentation, all around.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner reports, “If you were looking for a big softening on immigration from Donald Trump Wednesday night, you didn't get it.

“The Republican presidential nominee, fresh from a controversial but largely successful trip to Mexico, emphasized his respect for the neighboring country's president, the Mexican people and Americans of Mexican ancestry. He argued that his immigration policies would be good for Latino Americans, as well as African Americans. He conceded that many illegal immigrants were good people, more clearly than in his campaign announcement speech that became known for the ‘Mexican rapists’ line.”

As always, Trump’s immigration proposals constitute the beginning of negotiations – with Congress, with the Democrats, with Mexico and other nations involved. No one can be sure what the final policies will look like, but we do know one thing for sure: if Donald Trump is elected president, we’ll see action on combating the problem of illegal immigration.

If Crooked Hillary is elected, we’ll get more of the same, including executive amnesty and a Supreme Court that will be more than accommodating. The contrasts couldn’t be any starker. It’s time for choosing.

Trump’s meeting with Mexican president was also a smashing success

If I didn’t know better, when watching the brief joint appearance of Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City on Wednesday, I would have thought I was glancing six months into the future when a President Trump was visiting our southern neighbor to begin negotiations on improving relations between the two countries.

Trump wisely took the chance to meet a challenge in unfamiliar territory and came out smelling like a rose – and looking like a president.

Ben Kamisar of The Hill reports, “Donald Trump called for the end to the ‘humanitarian disaster’ of illegal immigration as he sought to strike a statesmanlike tone during his visit to Mexico on Wednesday.

“Standing alongside Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, the GOP presidential nominee read from a prepared statement touting the ‘shared objective’ of ending illegal immigration.”

Critics will likely say nothing was truly resolved in the meeting between Trump and Peña Nieto, but that doesn’t really matter. Trump wasn’t looking to extract concessions from the Mexicans at this time on the wall, NAFTA or any other matter.

He went down to Mexico to show he wasn’t afraid to look an adversary in the eye and represent the best interests of the United States. Mission accomplished.

Trump even used the “s” word (sovereignty) in his prepared remarks. Brilliant. I wonder if Barack Obama or Crooked Hillary ever use the word, at least as it applies to preserving and defending America’s interests abroad. No apology tour here, folks.

During his own comments, Nieto thanked Trump for accepting his invitation to meet with him. At that moment, I can only imagine the gut wrenching anguish being felt in Crooked Hillary’s campaign headquarters. Not only did she not go down to Louisiana a few weeks ago to meet with the flooded out victims in the bayou, now she looks stupid for not accepting the Mexican president’s invitation.

Donald Trump did. Trump is proving that he’s several steps ahead of the Democrats in the PR cycle, a style I believe would be repeated if he is elected president.

All in all, it was a “Yyyyyyuuuuuggggeeee” victory for Trump. As for the wall…we’ll just have to wait and see who pays for it.

Trump’s trip to Mexico and immigration speech is laying the foundation for changing minds

Whether you like Donald Trump’s immigration proposals or not, his actions yesterday and the past few weeks reveal a candidate attempting to remake his image just enough to convince a few people out of every hundred that he’s not only open to listening to all sides, but also that he’s presidential enough to assume the office.

Hence Trump’s recent appeals to black voters and his softening of the tone of his immigration plan. In this way, people can stop talking about his personal characteristics -- orange hair, wild hand gestures and sometimes heated rhetoric. Taking its place is serious discussion of what Donald Trump is proposing to do to change the course of a country which the vast majority of Americans agree is on the wrong track.

Studies suggest he needed to change himself before he could change minds, too.

David Brady and Douglas Rivers write at Real Clear Politics, “In summary (of their findings), among respondents who are undecided, say they won’t vote, or are voting for third party candidates, Hillary Clinton is doing slightly better than Donald Trump. Some 10 percent of Americans refuse to choose between them and are characterized by their extreme dislike of both candidates.

“So while technically ‘up for grabs,’ they do not seem likely to change their views of the candidates. In other words, although there are enough voters for Donald Trump to make up the ground in the last 10 weeks of this campaign, there may not be enough goodwill toward him to launch such a tide.”

Goodwill is in short supply this year. With virtually no national economic growth and the cultural tide turning rapidly away from traditional values folks, there isn’t much to like. Neither candidate is popular, but I would think this fact would indicate there’s more uncertainty out there than what shows up in the polls.

In this year’s election, Trump’s presence may mean more “undecided” voters than in a typical year. While it’s true Trump the celebrity is well-known to the entire American electorate, Americans are still trying to get used to Trump the political candidate.

It’s also true that you would have to live under a rock to not have experienced a healthy dose of news coverage of Trump running for president since June of last year, but much of the reporting has concerned the nominee’s sometimes outlandish statements rather his nuts and bolts policy proposals.

For example, everyone knows Trump has characterized illegal aliens in rather harsh terms, but people are still getting used to the gist of what he’s proposing to solve the difficulties associated with open U.S. borders. I’m thinking just about everyone would agree that unchecked immigration into this country is a problem. Even the most liberal Democrats don’t want to let national security threats into the country, though they’re certainly for allowing in more poorly vetted Middle Eastern Muslim refugees.

Liberals don’t equate letting in displaced Syrians with terrorism. Conservatives see not only the potential but clear evidence it’s happening here and all over the world. But that’s a story for another time.

If Trump can continue acting as a president would, I’m thinking some of the “undecided” lot who have disliked him all this time might be inclined to give him another look. Part of that second chance involves the awful nature of Crooked Hillary opposite Trump. People aren’t wild about her either, so if there ever was a year where people could potentially switch, this is it.

Aaron Blake reports in the Washington Post, “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton, while 56 percent have an unfavorable one.

“That's the worst image Clinton has had in her quarter-century in national public life. Her previous low favorable rating this year was in July, when it was 42 percent, lower than any mark in historical Post-ABC polls except a few points in the 1990s when a large share of the public had no opinion of her. Her previous high for unfavorable views was in June, when 55 percent disliked Clinton.”

Blake is quick to point out Trump’s favorable/unfavorable ratings are slightly worse than Hillary’s new low, but that’s beside the point. Trump is advancing policies that would otherwise be more popular if it weren’t for his “celebrity” persona. If Americans start accepting him as a serious presidential candidate they’ll be more likely to see the policies and not be as revolted by the sensationalism.

In other words, I believe Trump has room to grow; Hillary doesn’t. Trump is making news, much of it positive (a visit to Mexico was a brilliant move, I think). Hillary is hiding behind television ads and surrogates.

Her favorable/unfavorable numbers are dropping like a rock and the only way she can possibly improve them is to be seen more. But if she’s seen more, it only reminds people of her atrocious, phony, nerve-grating personality and penchant for lying. Whenever she does an interview you can tell she’s trying to steer around the questions. It’s pathetic.

Husband Bill was a much better politician than Crooked Hillary. Even political opponents would admit he was a gregarious good ‘ol boy in person. One look at Hillary and ice starts forming at the end of your nose.

Donald Trump knows how to remake his image – and as demonstrated yesterday, look presidential. Odds are it won’t be enough to completely change a huge percentage of minds by Election Day, but once again, he only needs to bring the undecided voters to his side.

This race ain’t over, not by a long shot.

Win or lose, after November, conservatives and Republicans have work to do

Even with newsworthy events such as Donald Trump visiting Mexico yesterday and then delivering his much anticipated immigration speech last night, discussion continues in conservative circles as to what will happen after the election in November. Specifically, how will the shattered Republican Party come together to work with either the newly elected Donald Trump or reorganize to battle against Crooked Hillary Clinton?

With the divisions in the Republican Party and conservative movement being what they are today, it’s not going to be an easy road either way. If the polls are correct and remain unaltered by the future and Trump loses, all you-know-what could very well break loose.

I think radio host Sean Hannity’s rant against the #NeverTrumpers the other day will be fairly typical of many Republicans and conservatives’ reactions.

Oliver Darcy of Business Insider reports, “Sean Hannity on Tuesday laced into Glenn Beck, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and the so-called Never Trump movement at large, saying on his radio program that he will hold those who refused to back Donald Trump responsible should Hillary Clinton win the White House in November.

“’You own Hillary Clinton. National Review, you own it. Glenn Beck, you own it. Ted Cruz, you own it. ... She wins, I'm blaming all of you,’ Hannity said. ‘[Y]ou own all of her policies.’”

Hannity continued on from there and not only named names, he cited the things #NeverTrump would be responsible for under Hillary’s presidency – a pretty comprehensive list including Obamacare, increased Syrian refugee immigration and Crooked Hillary’s Supreme Court nominations.

It’s clear from Hannity’s words that he’s at his end with #NeverTrump’s flimsy “he’s not fit to be president” arguments, something that’s getting harder and harder to claim after this back-and-forth between supporters and detractors has gone on for about six months now.

For their part, #NeverTrump has let it be known numerous times that they’ll blame the Sean Hannitys, Ann Coulters, Matt Drudges and Breitbarts of the conservative media for supporting Trump at all. I’m guessing this #NeverTrump adversaries list will include us here at ConservativeHQ.com as well, though we made it very clear we came to Trump’s side only because he represented the last and best alternative to Hillary Clinton.

Trump has certainly grown as a candidate since securing the Republican nomination and it’s a lot less painful to advocate for him now – but it’s safe to say, should he win, conservatives are going to keep an eye on him to make sure he keeps his promises.

If Trump loses, I suspect the #NeverTrumpers are going to have a hard time getting themselves back in the door. But eventually, some sort of coalition is going to have to come together to continue the fight for limited government and constitutional liberty – because the damage done under Crooked Hillary will be considerable.

Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review offers a look at what such a coalition might look like, “If Trump loses, then, Republicans will not only have to devise a strategy for responding to President Clinton and healing the bitter split between Trump supporters and opponents. They will also have to stitch together an alliance from among three groups: very conservative tea partiers, voters who think along the same lines as the party establishment, and much of the core Trump vote. And then, if that weren’t enough, they must attract some voters who don’t belong to any of these groups, since they do not add up to a majority.

“So while a Clinton presidency would be a long four or eight years, Republicans would have no trouble coming up with work to fill the time.”

I’m still hopeful it’s not going to come to this in November. I’m still thinking some in the #NeverTrump movement will ditch their “I’m not participating” intractable stance and reluctantly come to the Trump side. Foremost among them, I believe, will be Ted Cruz.

For reasons I’ve discussed at length before, I predict Cruz will say something like, “Donald has shown that he’s a better alternative than Hillary Clinton. I still have major personal differences with him but for the good of the country, I will vote for him.”

The truly hopeless #NeverTrumpers will remain in their holes trying to hide from the shrapnel bursting forth from the rhetorical shells exploding overhead. Some of them even think they’re going to lead the “new” movement once they emerge from their self-imposed exile. But I suspect most conservatives will look at them as Sean Hannity does…and it will be very hard to go on from there.

Mike Pence taking different approach to debate preparation from Trump

Finally today, ever since being named as Donald Trump’s running mate a few days before the party convention in Cleveland, Mike Pence has taken a bit of a different approach to campaigning than the man at the top of the ticket.

Pence’s quiet and confident demeanor has demonstrated that he’s every bit the capable conservative who is willing and able to work with Donald Trump to advance policies that will benefit the country.

It turns out he’s approaching preparing for his upcoming debate with Democrat Tim Kaine in a different manner than Trump as well.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “Asked about his preparations for the Oct. 4 debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, Pence told Fox News radio host Brian Kilmeade that a team is ‘starting to put together the briefing books and I’m starting to bone up on my years in Congress and a lot of the national issues.’…

“Pence volunteered that he would ‘have a few mock debates, I expect, along the way,’ in contrast to running mate Donald Trump, who has not ruled out the possibility of the standard preparatory exercise but has registered his disapproval of it.”

Normally I would say it’s crazy not to “practice” debating ahead of time, but I’m guessing Trump values spontaneity above going over canned responses. This brings with it some danger, but Trump proved capable in debates when he kept his temperament under control.

As for Pence, I think he will wipe the proverbial floor with Tim Kaine. Pence has extensive experience in discussing ideas and offering evidence to support his claims. Kaine, like most Democrats, seems to rely on politically correct platitudes to support his ideas. He’s full of hot air.

I’m glad that Pence is preparing, too. He’s no Donald Trump when it comes to the show biz element of politics – but in his case, that’s a good thing.

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Trump's Speech on Illegal Immigration

I saw Trump's speech last night and it was a winner. I was worried that he might blow it, but was very impressed with the substance and the way he handled the "Angel" Moms. He still needs to get more comfortable with the use of the teleprompter (look at the camera primarily and only occasionally to the left or right.) I might also say it was a bit long, but the substance of his remarks and the high quality of the speech was reassuring that he will be able to project himself as a credible candidate for the office of the President.