Recently, there have been two bombshell developments about President Donald Trump’s misconduct in and out of office. First, the culmination of the New York Times’ investigation into Trump’s tax returns; and second, Trump contracting COVID-19 himself after months of downplaying and mishandling the pandemic which has resulted in the death of over 210,000 Americans.
Starting with his taxes, it was revealed by the New York Times that Trump only paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Additionally, “he had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.” His businesses have accrued millions of dollars of debt that is soon to come due that he has personally guaranteed in addition to an audit by the Internal Revenue Service that could make him liable for “more than $100 million.”
In addition to the current state of his health due to COVID-19, “the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.” Both of these crises beg the question, “will this change the minds of voters?” In regards to his taxes and debt, the short answer is no. People have largely made up their mind on Trump and his success, or lack of. The list of talking points runs long on either side of the conversation to fit into whatever narrative is chosen. There might be a few people that this will be their “awakening moment” that inspires them to the vote for the first time but that is most likely a small group. The issue that is more likely to decide the minds of voters is by far the mishandling of the pandemic by the Trump administration. Most of the United States’ publications and institutions point to the Trump administration’s mishandling of the pandemic as the key reason to vote him out of office. Goldman Sachs told investors on October 5 that a Democrat “blue wave” would lead to faster economic recovery according to CNN. Two prestigious, apolitical, scientific publications, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Scientific American, have never endorsed or condemned a political candidate in their collective 378-year history until now. The coming month looks hopeful for Trump’s critics with Biden leading by a record average this close to the election since polls have been conducted but we can only wait and see if enough voters have decided against another four years with a Trump presidency. — Sebastian Herr