October 3, 2016

Will Trump lose voters over his tax returns leak?

My suspicion is that Trump won't lose votes over his leaked taxes and his ~$1 billion write-off loss carried forward structuring his taxes to pay as little as possible perhaps nothing) for the last 18 years, is not only legal, it's smart. The question is whether Trump and his surrogates argue the points effectively, and then move on, not dwelling on it ad nauseum.

Here's the point team Trump needs to make.  Tax avoidance and tax minimization are two different things. Paying as little tax as possible is good business.  Why would you pay more taxes than you have to pay?  Hillary Clinton has got accountants doing her tax no doubt and is doing the same thing as much as legally possible.  Not doing so is bad business and someone doing that should be viewed as someone incapable of making the smartest decisions.

Trump is where he is at in this race as a candidate because many people are hoping that he will run the Executive branch the same way - efficiently and with smart decision-making.  Hillary Clinton decrying his tax write-offs as unfair is being disingenuous.

The other tack that Hillary Clinton can take in attacking Trump is that such losses do not show the business acumen Trump claims to possess.  That too should fall on deaf ears.  Trump has had many businesses and many successes.  Capitalism is about taking risks - some will succeed and some will fail.  Trump has done both and more importantly after his losses, he didn't give up but picked himself up and was able to succeed once again.  That just reinforces his point - he's a fighter.

Is that who voters want to keep out of government - someone who says he wants to correct the system and is a fighter?

Many people do want just that - the establishment of both parties of course.  And also a lot of people who disagree with Republicans in general will of course want to keep Trump out of power.  They're not going to change their votes, but neither are those who support Trump.  The taxes will change nothing.

What will offer a valid counter-point to Trump's fighter image is if he doesn't prepare hard for the next debate.  That would be like rolling over.  Whether Trump won the first debate, barely lost it, or got trounced doesn├Ęt matter.  The media projection was that he lost soundly or barely because he underprepared.  Seeming to have underprepared for the next debate will let the image stick  that Trump is not a serious fighter, just a showman.  That's where the race will be decided if anything is going to change.

UPDATE: As expected, Hillary Clinton has used the same tax minimization strategy as Trump.

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