President Donald Trump told the tax man he was the country's biggest loser, according to Internal Revenue Service filings obtained by The New York Times, and that will make it harder for him to win re-election.
The vast majority of his base voters won't care whether he paid taxes or lied about being a successful businessman. His ability to pull one over on the public or the government — perhaps both — will be accepted by most of his supporters as evidence of his cunning, his acumen and his strategic brilliance.
But that base is simultaneously Trump's greatest strength and weakness on the electoral battlefield.
His inability to expand beyond his base and court the less strident is the main challenge to his re-election hopes. And the tax records make things worse. The documents reinforce narratives about Trump that fire up Democrats and give pause to Republican-leaning voters who might be persuaded either to cast ballots for Democratic nominee Joe Biden or simply stay home.
The tax payment numbers are empirical evidence of his long history of duplicity on his business record. They show that most of his ventures, save for branding himself as a big-swinging CEO, have been abject failures.
That evidence comes on the heels of Trump's acknowledgment that he played down the threat of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 200,000 American lives and millions of jobs, and the possibility that he paid less than he owed in taxes gives lift to the charge that he doesn't understand the concept of sacrifice.
Now, on the eve of the first presidential debate, Trump must choose: tell the American public that his tax filings were bogus or admit that he isn't the heavy-hitting CEO he says is. His attempt so far — to write the report off as "fake news" — is unlikely to carry weight with the most critical voters.
That puts him on the defensive about whether he is honest and trustworthy. That isn't a fight Trump wants to wage.
Much More At LINK: