4 Issues Trump May Flip Flop On Next

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Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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From now until Election Day, this may well become the most common newspaper headline formulation: “In reversal, Trump…”

It’s been just over a week since Donald Trump won the Indiana primary, essentially clinching the Republican nomination by forcing his final two Republican rivals out of the race. Since then, the real estate billionaire has already reversed his stance on the minimum wage, self-funding his campaign and lowering federal tax rates for wealthier Americans (though he now claims people simply misunderstood him on that one).

You shouldn’t be surprised by Trump’s sudden flip flops. His only ideology is winning. He will say whatever he has to in order to win the presidency, not because he has some grandiose agenda he wants to put in place, but because he simply doesn’t want to lose and be considered a loser. So now that he has won the Republican primary, he won’t think twice about reversing a position if he believes it will aid him in winning the general election.

So what’s next? Here are four more areas where you might see a Trump policy reversal between now and November.

Immigration – Trump won’t back away from building a wall on our Southern border, but there’s a good chance he will change other aspects of his immigration position in order to woo general election voters, including Hispanics. Take, for instance, his call for a mass deportation of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S.

“They’re going to be deported,” Trump told NBC’s Lester Hold last week, echoing a position he first articulated last summer. “We have many illegals in the country, and we have to get them out.”

But as the general election draws nearer, don’t be surprised if Trump changes that position to deporting just illegal immigrants with criminal records.

In fact, even though Trump has repeatedly stated he intends to deport all illegal immigrants from the country, the immigration white paper he issued last summer only specifies that “illegal aliens in gangs,” “aliens” with “criminal convictions,” and “[i]llegal aliens apprehended crossing the border” should be deported. It makes no mention of a “deportation force” to round up each and every illegal alien in the country, as Trump has suggested in interviews.

Trump has also stated that he wants to bring the “good” illegal immigrants back into country “rapidly.” But why go through the process and expense of deporting so many illegals you plan on bringing right back into the country anyway? That doesn’t make much sense.

So don’t be shocked if Trump pivots soon to say he only really wants to deport illegal immigrants with criminal records. After all, even most Republican primary voters, according to exit polls, support a pathway to legalization for most illegal immigrants.

It’s also possible Trump makes a definitive shift in favor of H1-B visas for high-skilled workers, an issue he has expressed multiple positions on over the course of the Republican primary.

Wealth Tax – When Trump looked into running for president in 2000, he proposed a one-time 14.25% tax on individuals with a net worth over $10 million. It would have been the largest tax increase in U.S. history.

Trump explained at the time that he would use the money raised by the tax to pay off America’s debt. Asked by Sean Hannity about the proposal last summer, Trump didn’t seem to have a philosophical problem with it, even if he said he no longer intended to push it.

“At that time we could have paid off the entire national debt and we could have started the game all even,” Trump explained,  arguing the tax was actually “very conservative.”

It wouldn’t be shocking if Trump revives the proposal, or some variation of it, in order to win over some Bernie Sanders supporters. While portraying Hillary as a pawn of Goldman Sachs, Trump would be able to position himself as a “traitor to his class” billionaire unafraid to take on America’s wealthy elite.

It’s not exactly a conservative position. But Trump isn’t a conservative, or anything close to one. It’s actually a position that fits very well with the populist campaign he has been running.

Abortion – So far, Trump is sticking to his pro-life position, but that could very well change.

Once upon a time when Trump considered running for president in 2000, Trump said he was “very pro-choice,” as one would expect a thrice-married New York liberal to be. But ever since Trump began flirting with running for president as a Republican, he has changed his tune. Trump claimed he had a pro-life conversion after he saw a friend’s kid grow up to be a “superstar” after the parents decided against an abortion. (Incidentally, Trump’s longtime friend and political adviser Roger Stone recently said he believes the conversion story is really about Trump and his wife Melania’s decision to have their son Barron.)

“Look, I’m pro-life folks,” one can imagine The Donald saying sometime soon, shifting his position. “I’m the most pro-life person you will ever meet. I hate the very concept of abortion. But I just don’t believe the government should be telling women what they should do with their own body.”

Trump may see this policy shift as a way to appeal to certain constituencies that won’t even consider a candidate if they are not pro-choice.

Gay Marriage – Trump hasn’t always been against gay marriage.

It was only a decade ago that Trump praised Elton John’s marriage to David Furnish in a blog post for Trump University. The pro-gay marriage Log Cabin Republicans put out a video montage in March showing Trump seeming somewhat open to accepting gay marriage in some interviews he has given.

But during much of the Republican primary, Trump has struck an anti-gay marriage note, presumably in an attempt to win the evangelical vote. He has said he is for traditional marriage. He also said he would appoint justices to reverse the Supreme Court’s recent decision to legalize gay marriage.

“I think they [evangelicals] can trust me on traditional marriage,” Trump said on the Christian Broadcasting Network in February, “and frankly, I was very much in favor of having the court rule that it goes to states, and let the states decide.”

But could Trump evolve on the issue as the presidential race moves toward the general? Or, you might say, devolve back to his 2005 position? Of course. In fact, in 2013, Trump suggested he was in the process of evolving.

“I think I’m evolving, and I think I’m a very fair person, but I have been for traditional marriage,” he told MSNBC. 

Maybe winning the Republican nomination will aid in his evolution.

“Look, I’ve always been for traditional marriage, but we got to evolve, folks,” Trump might say. “The Supreme Court has ruled. It’s the law of the land. It’s time to move on. We have bigger issues to deal with to make America great again.”

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