The headline screamed at 30,000 feet as a plane passenger read his USA Today: “TRUMP’S TAX TROUBLES.”
The story described more than 100 lawsuits and assorted legal disputes involving presidential candidate Donald Trump’s federal, state and local tax bills over several decades – and quoted Trump’s crystal clear position on paying taxes: “I fight like hell to pay as little as possible.”
Here is the Trump conundrum. Digging up a story about unpaid or disputed taxes by a candidate for public office, any public office, will usually put a reporter on an investigative high. The candidate must be squirming, right?
Not The Donald. If he can get out of paying taxes, Trump says, he will. He’s not embarrassed in the least.
And voters aren’t offended in the least. Voters don’t like paying taxes any more than Trump does, They’re saying, “Go, Donald, go!”
Meanwhile, The New York Times tried to rattle Trump and his campaign with a May 15 story alleging multiple instances of shoddy treatment of women by the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Unfortunately for The Times, the central figure in the story, a former girlfriend of Trump, immediately claimed she was misrepresented and that her dealings with Trump were never anything but positive. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, publicly and staunchly defended her father as well.
Bottom line? The Times took more heat for the story than Trump did.
Among the unique aspects of Trump’s candidacy is his ability to stay on his feet. It would be fun to write about his resiliency, his ability to bounce back – but he’s never been knocked down.
News stories and media commentary have consistently portrayed Trump as a hopeless underdog in his likely race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. But this is the same Trump who was declared dead on arrival when he announced his candidacy – and declared dead again and again despite racking up one victory after another in presidential primaries.
Now, Trump is closing the gap and two recent polls actually showed him leading Clinton – one by three points and another by five. A few weeks ago, most polls had him trailing by double digits.
Both Trump and Clinton have historically high unfavorable ratings and some voters are saying they find both candidates so distasteful that they’ll sit out the election rather than vote for either. These sidelined voters include people who have never before passed up an opportunity to vote in a presidential election.
We’ve reached a sorry crossroads in this country when our two major political parties serve up candidates that voters find equally repugnant.
In the end, though, enough Americans will chose one or the other to elect a new president. And it’s looking more and more as if a Trump victory that once seemed utterly impossible is now entirely plausible.
Richard Connor is chairman of the parent company of Fort Worth Business, DRC Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org..