Monday, October 03, 2016

Is the Trump Tax Story Finally Swaying Voters?

Personally, I find it difficult to understand how any sane and decent person can be supporting Donald Trump who I view as little better than a con-man who has payed a rigged system to better himself, typically at the expense of others.  Thankfully, the release of a part of his tax return that suggests that he may not have paid federal taxes for years seems to be doing two things in the minds of some voters: (i) showing Trump to be a parasitic freeloader, and (ii) dispelling the myth that he is a consummate businessman.  Skilled businessmen do not lose $900 million in a good economy.  A piece from the Washington Post looks at some of the reverberations in Ohio, a swing state, and Pennsylvania.  Here are excerpts:
The revelations about the Republican nominee’s taxes gave Clinton a fresh opportunity. In conversations around Toledo, many voters said they were offended by Trump.
“It’s disgusting,” said Steve Crouse, 65, the owner of Toledo’s downtown Glass City Cafe and a separate printing business. “As a businessman, he’s got that right to do that. It’s the way the laws were set up. But it’s not right. I would feel guilty if I didn’t pay anything. It’s flat-out cheating the government. You’re using all the roads, the fire department, the police, so you should pay for that.”
On his way into church, at the suburban parish he shares with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Fred Glynn, 63, said that Clinton’s support of abortion rights made her impossible to accept. But the tax story, which he had just seen on CNN, added to the reasons he would have to reject Trump.
“How can he not pay income taxes?” he asked. “He talks about helping people, but he doesn’t pay income tax? That’s helping everybody. It’s like the situation in Florida, where he didn’t pay taxes on his golf course. The school suffered from that.”
Separating Trump from his rhetoric by casting him as a dishonest and bumbling tycoon had been key to Clinton’s fight back, but for months, it didn’t penetrate. A TV spot that showed David Letterman revealing the China labels on Trump’s branded clothing didn’t move poll numbers. Clinton got little lift from a rally at the failed Trump Taj Mahal casino at Atlantic City.
[T]he tax returns gave Clinton an argument that would not have worked against Romney: that Trump’s swagger covered up a record of business failure. In the 24 hours since the tax leak, the $916 million loss has proven the toughest aspect for Republicans to spin.
“He ain’t that good,” said Alex Pickett, 52, while waiting for a bus that would take him to a downtown church. “Can’t be that good if he lost that much money.”
On Sunday afternoon, at a bar near Toledo’s resilient Chrysler complex, the size of Trump’s loss was a punch line. As the Cleveland Browns blew a game against the Redskins, Ron Amborski, 57, marveled at what he had just seen on Sunday talk shows.
“Rudy Giuliani called Trump a genius at least 12 times,” Amborski said. “Talk about overcompensating. ‘He’s a genius businessman! He made a genius comeback!’ I thought, ‘Man, if this was a drinking game, I’d be hammered.’ ”

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