Trump May Only Be Tamed By Fear Of Losing

In light of the pronounced possibility of losing the presidential election, while speaking at a rally in North Carolina last week, Donald Trump apologized (sort of) for rash statements he's made on the campaign trail. The speech marked a rare yet vague moment of possible penance, as Trump actually seemed to be sorry for once:

Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and believe it or not, I regret it. I do regret it particularly where it may have caused personal pain.

Trump neglected to specify which remarks he regretted. His quasi-backpedaling could easily apply to a number of recent incidents, including but not limited to his insensitive statements towards the Gold Star family of a fallen Muslim soldier, his previous allusions to Mexican immigrants being rapists, and the lofty claim that President Obama and Hillary Clinton co-founded ISIS.

While at first glance, his vague gesture of remorse might seem insignificant, given the barrage of absurdly bigoted statements Trump has made, it still marked a stark difference from the rest of his campaign. In fact, it got me thinking that his current losing position might provide the leverage required to pull back his extreme stances. Considering that Trump has called everyone from Rosie O'Donnell to John McCain a "loser" with the intention of knocking them down, losing is one of the most humiliating positions for Trump to be in. It's very possible that the encroaching threat of losing will lead to a few more apologies, and perhaps even a slight shift in policies.

In keeping with his new trend of gradually teasing back his rhetoric, Trump revealed a shifted perspective on immigration during a town hall with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night. He appeared to modify previous suggestions that we deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. He said that he was open to "softening" his previously strict immigration policies, and would consider letting "good" immigrants pay back taxes and go through a citizenship process:

People that have been working so hard to come into the country, are going through the process, we're going to take them in and we're going to cherish them, and they're going to love us.

According to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University Thursday, Clinton is beating Trump by 10 points. Given that Trump is seeing more evidence that he's on the path of becoming the "loser" he so mocks and despises, perhaps he will continue to (relatively) tame his ways.

Image: Bustle/Dawn Foster