Does It Really Matter That Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns?

Does It Really Matter That Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns?

Presidential candidates in the United States are not required by law to release their tax returns. It’s more of an unspoken courtesy — one that’s been observed by every single viable candidate since 1973.

But Donald Trump is not an ordinary Presidential candidate, as he goes to great lengths to remind us just about every day.

Not only has every “major party” Presidential candidate released their tax returns, but every potential nominee has, as well. We’re talking about perhaps the most public job in the world, so making this simple gesture of transparency would seem to behoove a person who hopes to cultivate the public’s trust.

But does it matter, really? And does this controversy reveal something uncomfortable about our nation’s skewed priorities?

Trump’s Claim to Fame

Keeping his tax returns under wraps seems like an unusual omission for a man like Trump, who’s spent his entire life building his reputation on nothing more than his ability to conjure wealth, as though from thin air.

Emotionally healthy individuals find other ways to distinguish themselves, like cultivating rewarding relationships, inventing things or curing diseases. But Trump is his wealth. On the day he descended on his escalator in Trump Tower to declare himself a Presidential candidate, he brandished a document that he claimed served as proof of his enormous fortune — some $10 billion, by his reckoning. (The document literally spelled it out in all capital letters.) In the interminable months that followed, Trump hasn’t wasted even a single opportunity to remind the country that he’s “really, really rich.”

But what else could a man as morally bankrupt as Trump really have to brag about? His Scrooge-like pile of wealth is the only high ground he has to stand on.

Consider: Trump’s wealth and (highly dubious) business acumen are literally his only qualifications. Ask any Trump supporter why they’re supporting him, and the first thing they’ll say is, “He tells it like it is.” That’s preposterous for hundreds of reasons, obviously, but it’s almost always followed by their second claim: “He’s a great businessman.”

That, too, is basically absurd, considering the frequency with which Trump has run his companies into the ground. The point, though, is why such a fabulously wealthy and talented businessman would suddenly balk at revealing proof of said wealth.

He says it’s because he’s being audited. So fellow billionaire Warren Buffet (who’s also being audited) decided to call his bluff.

Maybe the real reason is because he’s not nearly as wealthy as he claims. A lot of people think that may be the case.

Trump, the DNC and … Russia?!

An even more incredible theory has arisen recently amid the flurry of controversy surrounding the Democratic National Committee’s damning email leaks, courtesy of WikiLeaks. What we know is that the DNC wasn’t half as impartial during the primary as they claimed (and as their own rules require them to be). The DNC is required to treat all Democratic Presidential candidates fairly, but the emails that came to light reveal they actively worked to undermine Bernie Sanders, even going so far as to plant moles within his campaign and conspiring with the media to out him as an atheist, among other things.

All of that is despicable behavior, obviously. And whether because there’s a kernel of truth in it or because the DNC is now invoking Soviet-era distraction tactics, America is now breathing the words “Russian spies” and “sleeper agents” for the first time in a generation. And at the heart of it all is — you guessed it — Donald Trump.

The public record shows that Trump has had a relationship with Putin for many years, but in just the last few weeks, Trump has made a point to flatly deny it. (Denying reality is another of his few talents.) The prevailing opinion is that Russian hackers were behind the DNC’s email leaks, but tinfoil-hat types have gone one step further and suggested that Trump put them up to it in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

To begin with, Hillary Clinton doesn’t need any outside help in sabotaging her campaign. Her talent for tone-deafness nearly rivals Trump’s, as does the size of her easily bruised ego. If this weren’t the case, she wouldn’t have hired legions of keyboard jockeys to “correct the record” (read: censor dissenting opinions) on online message boards like Reddit and Facebook. She wouldn’t conspire with Twitter to censor hashtags that tarnish her very carefully manicured public image.

Yes, let’s loop Hillary Clinton into this conversation. She’s done the “proper thing” in releasing her tax returns, but we’ve pretended like the mere furnishing of these documents is some kind of panacea. Making her tax returns public has no more salvaged the public’s unprecedentedly low opinion of her than it would salvage Trump’s — not when there are so many unanswered questions about the Clinton Foundation’s likely money-laundering practices. Clinton only actively addresses the issues on which she appears palatable in comparison with Trump — and the media acquiesces. Americans forced into litigation against the Tax Department lose about 73 percent of the time. Our public servants, meanwhile, almost always get a free pass.

And that’s the point. None of this hullaballoo about tax returns matters. At all.

If any of the hundreds of xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, uninformed, abusive and insane comments Trump has made in broad daylight haven’t managed to dent his Presidential prospects by now, nothing will. Certainly not the release of his tax returns.

Sure, Trump might be hiding something. Even ties to Moscow. But whatever it is, there’s no conceivable way that it could lower a rational human being’s opinion of him any further than it already is. If there’s a “rock bottom” a politician can sink to, Donald Trump found it a long time ago.

Twisted Logic

Let’s return to the question posed earlier and add a second: has Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns hurt his candidacy even one iota? And if he did release them, and they contained something damning, would his followers even care?

Probably not. But why?

One potential explanation has to do with the cult of personality Trump has managed to enshrine himself within. The myth has become far greater than the man himself — it’s the reason why deeply conservative folks stopped listening after they heard the words “America” and “Great Again.” They have somehow convinced themselves that a man who embodies, with perfect accuracy, virtually every failed Republican economic policy implemented over the last 100 years will suddenly lead to some great windfall, some rising tide, that will lift all the ships. When it comes to economics, Trump is as Republican as they come.

Whatever else he might be, Trump appears to be at least peripherally aware that this terrifying strain of fanaticism has attached itself to him. At a campaign rally earlier this year, he bragged that he could “shoot somebody” and not lose any voters.

The crowd went wild. One gets the sense they were not applauding in the name of irony.

Allow me a brief aside — I promise it’s related. If you’ve ever delved into the “debate” (the term is used here extremely loosely) between Bill “The Science Guy” Nye and Creationist standard bearer Ken Ham, you’ve seen this sort of logic on display for all the world to see. Toward the end of the debate, Ham is asked if anything could ever change his mind about his beliefs. He makes a show of thinking about it briefly, and then answers: “No, nothing.”

I mention this in the context of American politics for a very simple reason: there’s a huge overlap between self-identifying evangelicals and Trump supporters. Trump himself has bragged about this, of course (“they really do get me!”), laying bare once again his sad need to be loved by every single demographic.

The point is this: Trump appeals predominantly to people for whom evidence means nothing. No amount of fact-checking will ever be enough to sway them. You likely have a Trump supporter in your own life who struggles to elucidate precisely what they see in the man, or to name even a single concrete policy proposal he’s brought forth.

Trump is a litmus test for the United States. How many of us are failing it?

A Sad Little Footnote in History

Like everything else about Donald Trump, his refusal to play by the (admittedly unspoken) rules of Presidential candidacy is juvenile, but not particularly worrying. Urban Dictionary may have adopted the word “Trumpism,” but Merriam Webster never, ever will. If the tax return debacle is an ultimately inconsequential footnote in an already grotesque campaign, then the campaign itself is destined to become an equally sad little footnote in this country’s history. Calling him the “next Hitler” actually gives the man far more credit than he deserves.

One last point:

It says a lot about our country that one of the ways we judge a Presidential candidate’s “fitness” is the size of their tax return. That a man (or, yes, a woman) is grotesquely wealthy should itself be a red flag about their candidacy. A person who hasn’t driven their own car in 25 years has no business leading a country peopled predominantly by working-class folks. Neither does a man who has his name emblazoned in larger-than-life golden letters on the side of buildings built by underpaid illegal immigrants.

If Trump’s tax returns were the smoking gun we’ve been waiting for, we’ve been truly unobservant indeed.


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Holly Whitman is a writer and journalist based in Washington DC. She loves to share her thoughts on the intersection of politics and culture, and writes on everything from feminism and human rights to climate change and technology.

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53 thoughts on “Does It Really Matter That Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns?

  1. If any of the hundreds of xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, uninformed, abusive and insane comments Trump has made in broad daylight haven’t managed to dent his Presidential prospects by now, nothing will. Certainly not the release of his tax returns.

    How do you reconcile this with Trump’s atrocious polling week? People are clearly reacting negatively to his convention (when he had nearly complete control of the spin) and to the comments he made in the wake of the DNC. He very well may recover over time, but I think there is no longer support for the assumption that Trump says whatever he wants and his approval only goes up.

    As for the tax returns, they are simply one area where the candidate can demonstrate good faith to the public and provide an example of his behavior behind the scenes. It’s obviously not a deal-breaker, and Trump may decide that the good faith effort is not worth what the tax returns reveal (in the same way that Clinton decided that a good faith effort to archive her emails wasn’t worth it). But if his poll numbers stabilize where they are now, Trump will start to run out of such opportunities.

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  2. But whatever it is, there’s no conceivable way that it could lower a rational human being’s opinion of him any further than it already is.

    Well, yeah, but voting isn’t limited to only rational human beings, so only relying on arguments that might appeal to them seems to be a sub-optimal strategy.

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  3. Trump looks like he is heading towards an epic defeat and his base of support might not extend beyond a rump reactionary 15-25 percent of the nation. Since I am don’t believe in utopia, I would peg this as the part of the population that his going to be fascist-authoritarian-unreconstructed bigot no matter what.

    The big issue is the norms that Trump has violated. There is a norm that Presidential candidates release their tax returns. This is seen as a good-faith issue in transperancy. Trump won the GOP nod while violating nearly every political norm there is.

    Perhaps an absolute Trump defeat would show that Americans really care about the norms and they will return.

    Trump is a buffoon and almost too cartoonish to be dangerous. A smoother Trump could get away with breaking a lot more norms

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  4. A tax return doesn’t tell you much, if anything, about net worth. You can make some inferences based on investment cash flow over time, but that’s about it. It does tell you how much money they donated to charity, what tax loopholes they take advantage of and the like. My guess is the bigger red flag is that Trump’s charity claims do not match reality.

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  5. Trump has made some very strong claims about the size of his wealth and his generosity in giving to charity. The Tax returns would provide a very clear window into both of those claims. Accordingly his refusal to release them has significance.

    On a more conspiratorial level Trump is pretty much toxic to standard financial institutions (what with his reputation for taking out loans then bailing on them) and it’s been suggested his tax returns could indicate some significant connections with less savory sources of financing.

    Regardless, the political norm is to release one’s tax returns. It would be pure political malpractice to not hammer on that point over and over again even if there’s nothing of value hidden within them. Doing otherwise would be how the norm would be broken and I have heard no argument to persuade me that it’s a norm worthy of being discarded.

    If one moves far enough to the left (or to the right for that matter) one enters a realm of ideals that are so politically impotent that the concept of trying to convince centrists, low information voters and the like loses any weight as a practical consideration. You don’t have to move very far into the mainstream, though, before the idea that persuading the persuadable swiftly outweighs the more rarified sensibility that simply deeming Trump as a bad person for reason X, Y or Z is adequate and thus his refusal to release his tax returns is no big deal.

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  6. Tax returns were a disaster for Romney, not because he’d done anything wrong, but because normal people can’t relate to upper 1% financing.

    Trumps would be worse, there’s no possible way it can help him, somewhere in those tens of thousands of pages of stuff there’s something to claim is *wrong*… and that’s actually *best* case for him. Worse is he’s nowhere near as rich as he claims or whatever.

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    • The one category of jokes that were verboten at his comedy roast was his net worth.

      I would say the worst case is ties to Russia considering the speculation in the past few weeks. US Banks refuse to loan money to Trump. He needs to get his financing from more unique sources.

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      • This brings us back to upper 1% financing.

        Cnn claims we’re talking about 500 companies. I fully expect some of them are having problems.

        But I can’t tell the difference between what I’d hear about Trump’s finances if they were real and what I’d hear if they’re not. Hillary’s people are going to throw mud. Digging up the worst Trump company is like presenting the worst McDonalds.

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        • I think it says something when American banks refuse to loan you money and you are allegedly a brilliant business person.

          Romney was good at business and as far as I know would have no trouble getting financing from US sources or non-sketchy sources.

          As far as I can tell, Trump’s high point was in 1983 with the creation of Trump Tower and since then he has just become a kind of brand and everyone sees him as untrustworthy.

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          • I think it says something when American banks refuse to loan you money and you are allegedly a brilliant business person.

            As far as I can tell you’re quoting this… http://www.dailynewsbin.com/opinion/deeply-in-debt-to-russians-donald-trump-may-only-be-running-for-president-to-avoid-bankruptcy/25398/

            Whose chief source was this… http://www.wsj.com/articles/when-donald-trump-needs-a-loan-he-chooses-deutsche-bank-1458379806 (this is from March)

            …and the problems they’re referencing were individual businesses and the problems related to the crash of 2008.

            So we’re talking about old news from the WSJ when they were trying to prevent him from getting the GOP’s nod. Or in other words, this looks like election year mud rather than ‘he’s falling apart right now’.

            Unless I’m looking at the wrong sources?

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            • These snips are from the WSJ, March 20, 2016:

              One of Donald Trump’s closest allies on Wall Street is a now-struggling German bank.

              While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a steadfast financial backer of the Republican presidential candidate’s business interests.

              Other Wall Street banks, after doing extensive business with Mr. Trump in the 1980s and 1990s, pulled back in part due to frustration with his business practices … Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are among the banks that don’t currently work with him.

              At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., bankers “know better than to pitch” a Trump-related deal, said a former Goldman executive.

              In 2008, Mr. Trump failed to pay $334 million he owed on the Chicago loan because of lackluster sales of the building’s units. He then sued Deutsche Bank. His argument was that the economic crisis constituted a “force majeure”—an unforeseen event such as war or natural disaster—that should excuse the repayment until conditions improved.

              And so on.

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              • Exactly. For “current” problems we need to go back to 2008? Really?

                The claim on the table is that banks have refused to finance him. Which banks, under what conditions, and so forth? My one minute google search found those two articles, and that’s as far as I could get, and basically it’s unsourced undetailed rumor about a guy running for President. What they were claiming about Romney at this point was that he didn’t pay taxes *at* *all*.

                The overall economic conditions strongly favor Trump, this is the wrong part of the business cycle for him to die in unless some massive screw up destroys him… but what’s actually on the table is rumors and 2008.

                I don’t like Trump, I’m not his supporter, I think the GOP would be best served by him stepping down and letting his VP take over… and even with all that, this still hits the radar as election year slime.

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                  • Dark, I think you’re looking for a level of “proof” which cannot be provided.

                    Let’s just quote the article:

                    The court rejected Mr. Trump’s arguments but the suit forced Deutsche Bank to the negotiating table. The two sides agreed to settle their suits out of court in 2009. The following year, they extended the original loan by five years. It was paid off in 2012—with the help of a loan from the German firm’s private bank.

                    While Deutsche Bank didn’t lose money on the deal, the fracas soured its investment bankers on working with Mr. Trump. “He was persona non grata after that,” said a banker who worked on the deal.

                    But not everyone within Deutsche Bank wanted to sever the relationship. The company’s private-banking arm, which caters to ultrarich families and individuals, picked up the slack, lending well over $300 million to Trump entities in the following years.

                    One of those loans, for $125 million, was to finance the purchase of Miami’s Doral Golf Resort and Spa in 2011, which he re-christened Trump National Doral.

                    So… the bank, which is supposedly refusing to give him loans, is in fact loaning him money, apparently to this day. And *that’s* our proof that he’s got problems.

                    Refusal by someone to help Trump buy a golf course is very different from refusal by everyone to help him (and even that wouldn’t be death because not all deals work). If you actually want to claim he’s got problems, then what you need is forclosures, or lack of payment of loans (as opposed to loans which were paid off).

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                    • So… the bank, which is supposedly refusing to give him loans, is in fact loaning him money, apparently to this day. And *that’s* our proof that he’s got problems.

                      Saul’s claim, and the WSJ’s claim, was that American banks won’t lend to Trump. The WSJ article also said, pretty definitively, that Deutsche Bank does lend to Trump.

                      I’m not sure what the problem is.

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                      • Saul’s claim, and the WSJ’s claim, was that American banks won’t lend to Trump. The WSJ article also said, pretty definitively, that Deutsche Bank does lend to Trump. I’m not sure what the problem is.

                        Ignoring that German banks are not Russian banks….

                        The issue is what is the definition of “won’t lend”. Does that mean…
                        1) Won’t lend to Trump under any circumstances?
                        2) Won’t lend to Trump without strong collateral?
                        3) Won’t lend to Trump at rates lower than the German bank?

                        There is a *vast* difference between #1 (Trump is going bankrupt) and #3 (German banks don’t want to invest in negative rate gov bonds so even golf courses look like a good idea).

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                        • There’s a reason why the loan is coming from the private bank. Private banks have different priorities (AUM) than the investment bank (expected loan yield). The private bank deal is likely under the condition that he hold X amount in AUM, where they can get a piece of that sweet 2/20 on investments with the risk that he default on his business loan. OTOH, all the investment bank can make money on is pure return, so they’re left holding the bag if he defaults.

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                    • I still think that the 1% financing thing is an argument that only a libertarian can love. Sometimes things are shocking to a majority for completely understandable reasons.

                      Trump also threatened to sue the press a lot this week because he has delusions of being Louis XIV or something. So he is not quite a hill to die on.

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                      • I still think that the 1% financing thing is an argument that only a libertarian can love. Sometimes things are shocking to a majority for completely understandable reasons.

                        That logic can and has been applied to all sorts of things, abortion, drug/alcohol use, gay sex, economic inequality, etc.

                        But moral outrage isn’t the same as sound social/economic policy, often it’s the opposite.

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    • Dark,
      Word on the street was that Romney had done stuff wrong, and that’s why he wouldn’t release them.
      Tax amnesty (bring your money back from switzerland) was on the table for the year he wouldn’t release, after all.

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  7. I’ve never understood the compulsion to release a cannidate’s tax records, nor the expectation that the do it from the public. Who runs for president? Rich well connected folk. Rich folk got money. Well connected folk got money. You see a tax form and SURPRISE? Duh.

    “It says a lot about our country that one of the ways we judge a Presidential candidate’s “fitness” is the size of their tax return.” But do we? I sure as hell don’t. Does the public? Oh, he’s richer than the other guy, I should vote for him! Maybe low info voter, but surely not anyone reading this site.

    That a man (or, yes, a woman) is grotesquely wealthy should itself be a red flag about their candidacy. A person who hasn’t driven their own car in 25 years has no business leading a country peopled predominantly by working-class folks.” Well that rules out HRC don’t it? But SO WHAT? See above about only rich folk running for president. Who do you expect to run. Some commoner who owns a gas station?

    “Neither does a man who has his name emblazoned in larger-than-life golden letters on the side of buildings built by underpaid illegal immigrants.” Actually, narcissistic rich men would seem drawn to the office.

    “If Trump’s tax returns were the smoking gun we’ve been waiting for, we’ve been truly unobservant indeed.” Only the media cares.

    “No amount of fact-checking will ever be enough to sway them” You mean like a candidate that runs as an outsider for “hope and change” but is nominated by a party filled with status quo supporters, insiders, and by the same people that screwed Bernie? That’d be MUCH better!

    Maybe the appeal of Trump is visceral emotional one where the supporter hopes that if elected, Trump will screw over the people that have been screwing the Trump supporter over? Maybe it’s about payback and revenge vs some logical rationale? I can’t say, I don’t live in a state that will vote for him.

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    • Nixon.

      Before Watergate, there was some serious tax issues. The “I am not a crook” line? His taxes. Turns out he owed 750k (about 3 mil in inflation adjusted dollars), or about 1/3 his net worth.

      Ford released his tax returns as part of an attempt to restore faith in government and promote transparency. Every nominee (and most candidates) since then have.

      In context, not releasing them is tantamount to saying you’re hiding something. In Trump’s case, I suspect either he’s not nearly as rich as he claims — and admitting that would savage his brand, costing him a lot of money — or he’s being heavily audited for some sketchy stuff, and by and large Americans dislike the idea of our President playing games on his taxes. Because if you can’t even pay what little you owe — and they know the rich pay a lot less because of loopholes — why should they trust you? You won’t even pay your tiny effective rate”. (And effective rate is kind of a political football since there’s always some candidate wanting to slash taxes on brackets that, coincidentally, include him).

      So, the tl:dr version is “Nixon was cheating on his taxes and lying about it, and there was a big stink, and then candidates started releasing it to prove they’re not Nixon”.

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      • Also the charities. If you contribute to charities it shows on your taxes. Romney Pere released his returns and it showed he gave enormous amounts to charities. Trump has also claimed great generosity but hasn’t shown any proof. The tax returns would reveal it definitively.

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      • I understand that. And in this particular case it might be a good idea to release the tax files, but it’s not required and he doesn’t have to. People can form their own opinions on candidates without a lot of hard data. This is no different. But hey, let’s make the forms release mandatory. Let’s get congress to pass a law if it’s constitutional.

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        • No one’s saying he has to.

          What he’s getting (and even that’s mitigated because on the “Trump” scale ignoring 40 years of convention and looking shady barely rates) is people judging him because he won’t.

          Which is fair enough.

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    • I’m kind of with Damon here. There are definitely reasons that the public benefits, at least potentially, from getting access to the information (I’m a little skeptical just how much the returns tell us, since the more involved their finances, the less transparent their tax filings are likely to be, but all else being equal, seeing them gives more transparency than not). But I’m not sure the public is entitled to an absolute expectation that they be released. But then from there, people are well within their rights to form negative conclusions of their own from a refusal to be transparent. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say a candidate who chooses not to disclose has abrogated an absolute obligation for all candidates for president or whatever offices we’re thinking about this for.

      Basically, I’m okay with a situation where candidates are free to choose between this degree of transparency, or a p.r. hit of some degree for not doing so. But I don’t want the media to act like it’s some type of quasi-law they’re breaking. If they don’t want to show us, they don’t have to. But we can react with leeriness, the more so the more complicated their finances seem to be. (But then also, the more complicated, the less likely the tax returns are to really be fully revealing.)

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  8. Rules are for pussies.

    At least, that seems to be the Donald Trump philosophy.

    Who is his core constituency? Disaffected white men, largely left behind by societal (on both a national and global level) changes. Their power, which used to be concentrated among them and their demographic peers, has become diffuse in large part due to new “rules”. The system used to “righteously” work for and on their behalf; but now it has beem hijacked and co-opted and turned against them unjustly and illegitimately. So any attack on the system is warranted and welcomed. Flouting the rules is what Trump’s base wants because they don’t like all these new rules.

    We can shake our heads at their myopic and perspectiveless perception of the last, oh, 60 years. But we do so at our own peril. Our tendency to have done so is what has helped lead to Trumpism. We can reject their hatred and push back against many of the changes seek.

    At this point, spite seems to be the name of the game.

    “Oh yea? Showing tax returns/tolerating crying babies/respecting religious beliefs/telling the truth is pussy shit. We’ve been trying to play by the rules for years and things have only gotten worse for us. Fuck the rules. In fact, I’m gonna go out of my way to break rules even if it doesn’t help me because at least it’ll be funner than getting screwed over for following the rules.”

    Trumpism (not Trump) is the kid who has already failed 4th period English but still has to go to class. The teacher hates him, he thinks, and that’s why his grades are in the toilet. Unfortunately, he has to show up so why not be a thorn in her side until she either cracks (victory!) or he gets expelled (martyrdom!). Maybe some of his grievances have some validity, but no one listened to him no matter what he tried. So it’s scorched Earth. Trump himself is the rich kid sitting next to Trumpism, with the B- but a slot at his daddy’s alma mater, egging Trumpism on: “You won’t do it.”

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    • Exactly. Now let’s take that attitude you clearly articulated and apply it to LGBT and the Gays.

      “Fuck that equal marriage and “weirdo bathroom rights””.

      How far is the above comment from the one below?

      “It’s time to fix all those queers good. Where’s the rope?”

      Personally, I think it’s getting closer that it was several presidential elections ago. And i think it’s going to continue to get closer. I don’t think HRC will do anything to fix it. Might make it worse. And let me say this. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO IGNORE. So how are we going to widen the gap?

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      • Because I wanted to focus on the mindset behind this thinking and not get derailed, I deleted a section where I talked about the need to address his suuporters’ concerns, real or perceived. However their tactics for making their concerns known are highly counterproductive, as discussed above.

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        • Kazzy,

          I wasn’t criticizing your post but expanding on it.

          “We can shake our heads at their myopic and perspectiveless perception of the last, oh, 60 years. But we do so at our own peril. Our tendency to have done so is what has helped lead to Trumpism. ”

          Exactly…and I extended that line of thinking further down the road. They are tired of following rules they don’t agree with that were put in place against them. What I said is a logical outcome should they continue to be treated like crap by the system.

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        • Where did I say “Fuck Trump supporters and their concerns”?

          If you don’t, I will.
          …..

          Engage. Listen. Educate

          I remember in 1992 after the Rodney King riots here in LA, when the smoke still lingered in the air, and white people still had grainy mental images of being dragged from their cars and beaten to a pulp, people talked like this.

          Softly, treading on eggshells, straining to be delicate and polite and understanding and sensitive because every white person had that black friend at work and no one wanted to have him flip out and start a rampage or something.

          Now I am hearing people talk about the pitiable oppressed white one truck contractors with Trump hats the same way, I guess because, well, they want to burn the whole place down too.

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  9. Kazzy: We can shake our heads at their myopic and perspectiveless perception of the last, oh, 60 years. But we do so at our own peril.

    What’s the alternative? You say we can reject and push back against the hate, but, well, we’ve been doing that for a while and it has not, evidently, done much to help.

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    • and

      Engage. Listen. Educate

      In “diversity work” there is the 20-60-20 theory: 20% of people already agree or are inclined to agree with you, 20% don’t and never will, and 60% are persuadable. Maybe the numbers are 25-50-25 or 10-80-10. But I like the idea. If these people are the 20%, the best we can do is seek to mitigate their impact while aiming to coexist respectfully. But if they are in the squishy middle, we work with them, not against them.

      Part of the problem is there anger is misdirected. They blame Mexicans because their coal mine shut down. Trump, the evil bastard, is stoking that by encouraging the blame and promising to reverse rules that don’t actually exist and, if they do, are irrelevant to their problems.

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