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The week Donald Trump went nuclear on immigration

At the start of this week, two stories dominated the news: 1) The ...

Posted: Nov 3, 2018 9:01 PM
Updated: Nov 3, 2018 9:01 PM

At the start of this week, two stories dominated the news: 1) The murder of 11 people at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh and 2) The pipe bombs delivered to a number of prominent Trump critics -- and a news organization -- the previous week.

The week ends very differently: with a pitched battle over immigration, law-breaking and what kind of country we are and can be.

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The switch is of President Donald Trump's choosing. Here's what he had to say about it at a rally on Thursday night in Missouri:

"Now, we did have two maniacs stop our momentum that was incredible, because for seven days, nobody talked about the election to stop the tremendous momentum. 

"More importantly, we have to take care of our people. And we don't care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country. But it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum. And now the momentum is picking up."

Trump clearly believes that his scare tactics on immigration -- and, in particular, his insistence that the so-called "caravan" is right on our doorstep -- are working. He's learned from his 2016 campaign that fear and anger have huge power in the political sphere. And in this campaign, like in that one, he's ending the race by appealing to people's fear of the other. (His web video -- featuring convicted cop killer Luis Bracamontes -- is the most clear example of the depths Trump is willing to plumb to scare his supporters into voting.)

What's less clear is whether Trump's tactics on immigration will work. Yes, they may well rile up the Republican base. But at least in the most competitive House races in the country, there simply aren't enough Trump base voters to win an endangered House Republican race. Many of these House races are in the suburbs -- in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania -- and it's hard to see those sorts of voters being swayed by Trump's hard-line message on immigration. (Trump's messaging may work better in hotly contested Senate races in reliably Republican areas such as Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana.)

The Point: This is how Trump is going to end his 2018 push. Not on the surging economy. Not on trade. Not on health care. But on immigration. It's a big risk that could pay dividends (as it did in 2016) or blow up in his face.

Below, the week in 25 Trump headlines.






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