Here are 2 key elements Biden needs to highlight from the Trump tax bombshell

Here are 2 key elements Biden needs to highlight from the Trump tax bombshell
David Badash
Trump campaign blames Democrats for ex-campaign manager’s reported self-harm threat

The first presidential debate is sure to be a bananarama full of bonkers. As anyone who has been watching the current presidency already knows, Joe Biden will have to deal with a torrent of lies and personal attacks from The Man Who Lost the Popular Vote—often packaged together in the same word salad jumble of an answer.

But one thing we didn't know—until about 48 hours ago—was that the entirety of Trump's decades-long tax scam, as well as his utter failure as a businessman, would be laid out in The New York Times. As Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas wrote, "it's worse than anyone could've imagined." Worse for Trump, but perhaps better for the American people … if it helps sink him further in the polls.

In terms of the debate, there's one effective way for Biden to talk about this issue.

The key is for the former vice president to boil down the whole sordid story into two central elements, each of which connects to one powerful emotion Biden wants evoke in voters. The first targeted emotion should be anger. Biden should emphasize—as he's already done in ads—the injustice of Trump living a life of luxury while getting away with paying little to nothing in income taxes. This should be a straightforward, relatively simple thing for Biden—who grew up in modest circumstances himself—to accomplish.

The second element connects to voters' fear. Trump owes what finance experts soberly refer to as a shit ton of money, and most of it will come due in a would-be second presidential term. Having a president who is that compromised should scare the bejeezus out of every American, as Paul Krugman explained.

Personal financial trouble has always been a red flag when it comes to filling sensitive government positions, because it's an open invitation to corruption.

So the confirmation that the nation's chief law enforcement and national security official — whose business empire already offers many opportunities for undue influence — is drowning in debt is chilling.

[...] So now we have a deeply indebted business owner with every incentive to engage in malfeasance — except that in addition to running his business, he's running the United States of America.

To be clear, Biden should not have to carry the ball by himself tonight on Trump's tax shenanigans. This is a topic of vital importance, and no matter what else moderator Chris Wallace had planned to focus on, he needs to address it.

After Wallace (hopefully) brings up that question, and Trump offers whatever flailing response he can muster, Biden will have his chance.

There are very few undecided voters at this point in any campaign. That's especially true when one candidate is a sitting president, and it appears to be even more true this time than usual. Frankly, the most effective way to motivate undecided voters is to either to piss them off or to scare the shit out of them.

Biden needs to seize the opportunity provided by the latest bombshell about Trump's tax scam, and do both.


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