The Washington Post has a look back at the two days in mid-June 2015 upon which the GOP race hinged. But the Post’s photo gives away the real story: It shows a Bush enthusiast holding up a “¡Jeb!” sign with the Spanish inverted exclamation point. This perfectly captured the Republican Brain Trust’s reigning theory as of the day before Trump entered the race that running for President on the platform that you like Mexicans more than you like Americans was the safe, smart play.
Trump later would acknowledge that he had been taken by surprise by the power of the immigration issue. “When I made this speech about illegal immigration, I had no idea what it was going to become,” Trump said. “I mean, it was an important subject to me but I had no idea it was going to resonate in the way it has.”