Two months away from the presidential election, Donald Trump tails Hillary Clinton closely in the polls, which is distressing. In the speech he gave on immigration on Wednesday in Phoenix, the Republican candidate for the White House has reached vertiginous heights of demagogy — and of dangerousness.

Democrat Hillary Clinton supports the liberation of “dangerous, dangerous, dangerous criminals,” declared Donald Trump in Phoenix. Why does she dread the idea of dividing the families of illegals by deporting them, he wondered, while “American families” (read, white) are divided by the murders committed by these immigrants? Because she herself is a criminal … of course. [This is] just one of many examples of the demagogical delirium to which he has once again surrendered himself in a “10-point” speech that his partisan machine had however announced as major and substantial.

Hours later in Mexico, where he had gone to meet Enrique Pena Nieto (for that matter, one wonders by what poor political calculation the Mexican president could have thought that it would be useful for him to meet this man who is detested south of the border), Mr. Trump made a superhuman effort to show himself to be president material. The natural came back in full gallop in Phoenix in a logorrhea of inflammatory speech, in which the Republican Party’s duly designated candidate, far from softening his positions, reduced the 11 million of those undocumented to a band of criminals, re-iterated his intention of having an “impenetrable and marvelous” wall built on the border, paid for by the Mexicans, and committed himself, essentially, to put all government resources in service of a vendetta against all illegal immigrants, from the first to the last.

Incidentally, the fact is that in the United States, immigration is not a major factor in criminality. On the contrary, it turns out to be objectively a safety factor, noted columnist David Brooks on Friday in The New York Times. According to a study that he cites, just 3 percent of immigrants without college diplomas who are born in Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala are sent to jail, compared to 11 percent of men born in the United States.

Of course, Mr. Trump speaks nonsense. But in the current state of affairs, that is beside the point.

Trump, Trump, Trump, his supporters hammer on. His name has become the mantra of a certain white America blinded by anger and frustration. Mr. Trump’s candidature has re-established and legitimized the right to white identity affirmation in terms that, for decades, have not held their place culturally in the public space. He has liberated a discourse steeped in intolerance, and this discourse dangerously harkens back to the segregationist era.

According to the dominant electoral analysis, it would be impossible for him to win the presidential election without broadening his base and rallying more moderate Republicans. If not, he would race to his defeat. And yet…

On the contrary, two months from the election, Mr. Trump seems to be acting on the calculation, if in fact he truly has an electoral strategy, that he can win by a narrow margin without becoming more polite and more politically correct.

He can count on the fact that 20 percent of voters (twice as many as in 2004) defend opinions that are at the extremes of the political spectrum, according to a study by the Pew Center. He can then bet that Mrs. Clinton, who does not inspire the greatest of sympathies at the heart of the Democratic electorate, will lose votes to its “extreme left” among young Americans roused by the ideas of Bernie Sanders.

By doing so, in the increasingly polarized context that is the United States, Mr. Trump is making a calculation that is unfortunately not foolish.

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