What if Those Demanding Trump’s Taxes Are the New Birthers?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he speaks at his New York presidential primary night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Remember the birther movement?

It was an ugly bit of American politics from the Obama era. In fact, our current President was a major figure in birtherism.

The conspiracy, for the uninitiated, was that President Obama isn’t really a naturally-born U.S. citizen and thus was ineligible to be President. Feeding into the conspiracy was President Obama’s refusal to release his birth certificate until years into his presidency.

Up to that point Obama and his allies had fun mocking his critics who were driven to distraction by the birth certificate issue, to great political effect. It was a ridiculous episode for the right, and a major distraction for Republicans, and Obama knew it.

That’s why he withheld his birth certificate for so long.

I wonder if Trump isn’t doing the same thing with his taxes.

While his political enemies are busy foaming at the mouth over trivia like his taxes he’s busy clear cutting a veritable forest of Obama-era policies. While sanctimonious liberals are writing angry Facebook posts, and filling the broadcast airwaves with a miasma of smug, Trump is checking off campaign promises on his way to re-election.

The left is working itself up into a lather about those tax returns. Remember Rachel Maddow hyperventilating not that long ago about a supposed scoop related to Trump’s taxes? One which might have been the result of a leak from Trump himself?

How about those protests over the last weekend? Or, here in North Dakota, a group of students publishing their own tax returns in an issue of the student newspaper?

I think Trump should release his tax documents (just as I thought Obama should have released his birth certificate right away), not because I think they’ll reveal anything all that interesting but because transparency and trust should be the hallmarks of public service.

But one does have to admire the skill with which Trump is manipulating his critics by not releasing those documents.

Trump is the ultimate master of distraction. While his political enemies are busy foaming at the mouth over trivia like his taxes he’s busy clear cutting a veritable forest of Obama-era policies. While sanctimonious liberals are writing angry Facebook posts, and filling the broadcast airwaves with a miasma of smug, Trump is checking off campaign promises on his way to re-election.

“Generally speaking, if your critics are reduced to complaining about what might be in your tax returns, you already won,” Trump-supporting Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams wrote recently.

“It is incumbent upon the defeated party to pull itself together, or else we’re going to get the reelection of the present administration,” Camille Paglia, a Bernie Sanders supporter who voted for Jill Stein in 2016 told the New York Times recently adding that “the Democrats have overplayed their hand.”

They’re right.

I don’t think the voters care about Trump’s tax returns. He won despite his taxes being a major part of the campaign rhetoric against him last year. Yet the left, consumed by their hatred of Trump, are eschewing the issues voters actually care about in favor of this ephemera.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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