Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.Hooray! Now we know he's probably paid less in income taxes every year than the average American! And it's because he's not a very good businessman!
The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
Here's the problem: The Clinton campaign and Clinton's allies have been demanding Trump's tax returns for months now, all while criticizing multiple aspects of Trump's business conduct -- and in all that time, the polls have been tightening. And now that we have some information, we learn that Trump might have a light income tax burden not because he's using tricky offshore tax havens or obscure provisions slipped into the tax code after intense lobbying -- he might have low tax bills because he's using a relatively straightforward, comprehensible tax provision that allows one year's losses to offset future income gains. And it probably doesn't even matter much that this report reminds us of Trump's business failures -- coming back from bankruptcy is part of Trump's origin story (remember, he published a book in 1997 called The Art of the Comeback).
You can discount this because it's from a Fox poll, but given the impact these issues have had on the race, I suspect it's accurate or only slightly skewed:
I'd love to see polling on this from other firms. This jibes with what I've seen -- Trump opponents care about his taxes, but he's being hurt much more on the issues of racism and temperament. With Clinton, by contrast, it's emails, emails, emails -- even for some people who'll ultimately vote for her.
A much more important story is this one from The Washington Post's Jenna Johnson:
MANHEIM, Pa. — Donald Trump's campaign announced Saturday evening that the candidate would soon deliver a nine-sentence critique of comments Hillary Clinton made months ago about many of the millennials supporting her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. It was an attempt to latch onto a new headline in hopes of finally escaping the controversies that had consumed his week.Really, read this story. If you don't have a Post subscription and you're rationing free clicks, use one for this. It portrays a Donald Trump who's utterly unable to focus on a task, who's bouncing off the walls with rage, and who, if he isn't on Bolivian marching powder, sure is acting as if he got psyched for the speech by hoovering a few lines.
It didn’t work.
It took Trump nearly 25 minutes to read the brief statement because he kept going off on one angry tangent after another — ignoring his teleprompters and accusing Clinton of not being “loyal” to her husband, imitating her buckling at a memorial service last month, suggesting that she is “crazy” and saying she should be in prison. He urged his mostly white crowd of supporters to go to polling places in "certain areas" on Election Day to "watch" the voters there. He also repeatedly complained about having a "bum mic" at the first presidential debate and wondered if he should have done another season of “The Apprentice.”
He read the first sentence of the prepared statement: “A new audio tape that has surfaced -- just yesterday -- from another one of Hillary’s high-roller fundraisers shows her demeaning and mocking Bernie Sanders and all of his supporters.”The "range of topics" included a racist call for Trump voters to monitor polling places in "certain areas," complaints about CNN's reporting on him during the primaries (why is he still complaining about this?), and a moment of physical mockery of Clinton reminiscent of his attempt to imitate disabled journalist Serge Kovaleski:
Rather than continuing, Trump demeaned and mocked Sanders himself, saying that he has “a much bigger movement than Bernie Sanders ever had” and that he has “much bigger crowds than Bernie Sanders ever had.” Trump accused Sanders of tarnishing his legacy by making a “deal with the devil” and supporting Clinton.
“Crazy Bernie,” Trump said at one point.
Eventually, Trump read a few more sentences, telling the audience that Clinton had described Sanders supporters as “living in their parents’ basements” and being trapped in dead-end jobs. Clinton made these comments more than seven months ago and seemed to sympathize with millennials who supported Sanders, although Republicans have tried to frame the remarks as an attack on young voters.
“In a really sarcastic tone because she’s a sarcastic woman,” Trump dryly said, going off-script.
He resumed his scripted spot: “To sum up...”
But he interrupted himself: “And I’ll tell you the other thing: She’s an incompetent woman. And I’ve seen it. She’s an incompetent woman.”
Halfway through the statement, Trump took a nearly 20-minute-long break to cover a range of topics...
Trump then imitated Clinton by flailing his arms and jostling side to side. He walked unsteadily away from the podium as if he were about to fall over. “Folks, we need stamina,” Trump said. “We need energy.”Do I have to explain why this is nuts? Ads that show Trump's imitation of Kovaleski are really hurting him -- so he gets it into his head that should do something like that again, like a sullen kid who's told there'll be a severe punishment if he utters a particular curseword one more time at the table and decides that's precisely what he's going to do. Trump is no longer under any control -- his campaign can't control him anymore and he can't control himself.
And then there's this, which reeks of incoherence, delusions of grandeur -- and then bigotry:
Manic episode with anti-Semitic facets pic.twitter.com/SozCnxlYc3— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 2, 2016
What's going to matter between now and November? I don't think it's going to be Trump's taxes. Too many Americans in the post-Reagan era are still active members of the Church of the Businessman -- they think "job creators" are wonderful people and they're certain Trump is a great businessman because TV said so for 14 years.
I think Trump's mental state is going to matter much more. He's out of control. He thinks whatever makes him feel good is good for his campaign. And I really think he might be on drugs -- I know everyone says he never touches drugs or alcohol, but we heard the same thing about Prince.
I think he's only going to get worse in the next few weeks. I think he's going to be like this in the two upcoming debates. It's going to be amazing to watch.