Last year, after journalist Kashmir Hill spent a week writing in ALL CAPS as an experiment, she reflected, “Once I got used to all caps, I started shortening everything I wrote. No need for clauses and throat clearing. You can’t write ‘I THINK’ or ‘PERHAPS’ in all caps. One who is writing in all caps is certain about the world.”
Her assessment came back to me Sunday when Donald J. Trump, who lives in a building that says TRUMP TOWER, used Twitter to announce a forthcoming speech:
I will be making a major speech on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION on Wednesday in the GREAT State of Arizona. Big crowds, looking for a larger venue.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2016
The caps conveys an aura of certainty about what he’s going to say. And yet, most recent evidence suggests that Trump is totally confounded by this issue. In fact, he only recently postponed a different planned speech on illegal immigration.
It’s easy to see why.
After the 2012 election, Trump suggested that Republican Mitt Romney lost in part because his position that illegal immigrants should be induced to “self-deport” was too harsh.
Then, during the 2016 GOP primaries, Trump chose rhetoric that was far harsher. At various times, he promised a wall and mass deportations, urged a religious test for entering the country, called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, and called an American born judge a Mexican unfit to preside over a lawsuit accusing Trump University of defrauding students. All this won Trump headlines and a base of support from hardliners who feel perennially betrayed by the Republican establishment, even as it alienated moderates and caused Trump to be loathed by a huge number of Hispanics. It was hard to see how he could change his positions on immigration, of all issues. Many of his detractors would never forgive his strident bigotry.