With just days to go before the Iowa caucus, it seems that political experts are finally taking the possibility of a Donald Trump victory seriously. Since Trump launched his candidacy, the pundits have been foretelling its imminent and disastrous end. Defying their predictions, Trump remains in the same place he’s been the entire time – firmly atop the Republican primary polls.

As they prepare for the first voters to cast their ballots, there is a new sense of urgency from some Republicans to stop Donald Trump from capturing their party’s nomination. Katie Packer, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, has launched a new super PAC to take on Trump. In the last days before the caucus, Our Priorities PAC has gone up with a seven-figure ad buy in Iowa that asks Trump the “Tough Questions.”

Softening The Donald on “Illegal Immigrants”

Trump’s anti-immigration stance has been one of the defining characteristics of his presidential bid to date. His announcement speech attacked Mexican immigrants, and his campaign’s first TV ad called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Considering how these positions have boosted him with Republican primary voters, Our Priorities PAC’s ad firmly targets this issue with the hopes of undermining his support. Connecting it to his decision to skip the GOP debate on Fox News, the ad alleges that conservatives can’t trust Trump.

The ad digs up footage of Trump speaking last June, saying, “You have to give them a path and you have to make it possible for them to succeed.” The narrator warns Trump “would let millions of illegal immigrants stay in America” and that he supports a pathway to citizenship.

Our Priorities PAC also offers a reason why Trump’s previous statements would contradict the position he’s put at the center of his campaign: “And why does Trump support amnesty? Maybe because Trump makes big money off illegal immigrants.” The ad surfaces allegations that Trump employed undocumented immigrants in the construction of his eponymous buildings in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Trump supporters may be inclined to reject the veracity of comments that are seemingly opposite of what they’ve seen Trump say on the news and in debates for months. But rationalizing his hypocrisy as personal enrichment could be enough to chip away at Trump’s image as truth-teller and political outsider on which his support is predicated.

The End Game

It seems far-fetched that Republicans have determined the key to saving their party is attacking Trump from the right on immigration. The RNC’s post-2012 autopsy invoked the importance of broadening the party’s appeal to minority voters, and even RNC Chair Reince Priebus has said that the comment made by Packer’s old boss during the 2012 election about self-deportation “hurts” the party.

And should the super PAC prove successful in derailing Trump, the next candidate in line is Ted Cruz, who also isn’t exactly the most popular individual with the Republican establishment either. 

But for now, it seems the number one goal is doing whatever it takes to stop Donald Trump from capturing the GOP nomination. It might be too late for the Republican establishment to coalesce around a single candidate who could win the primary, but perhaps this late play will fracture the votes and block Trump from securing enough delegates – leading to a scenario in which Mitt Romney emerges as the GOP’s savior at a brokered convention.   Hey, we can always dream, right?

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