Unlike most other presidential candidates in recent history, Trump refused to publish his tax returns. During the debates, Hillary Clinton speculated about the reason for this. We might know more now. The New York Times reports that Trump could possibly have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years. A big loss back in 1995 might make it possible.
Trump didn’t confirm nor deny the allegation. Either way, it was a bad week for candidate Trump. During the debates, he looked like a spoiled little boy, during the days after debates like an angry and unreasonable old man. The New York Times story further puts him on the defense. Remember this general rule about the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign: Whoever is the main focus of the public debate will lose the election.
Will the story move the needle? We will see. In fairness to Trump, the New York Times is not accusing him of any illegal behavior. Also, it’s not in contradiction to what he said himself during the campaign, namely that he pays the strict minimum in taxes. This being said, the story helps Clinton paint a picture of a crude businessman who doesn’t care much about working people. In a close race like this, a few percentage points can make a big difference.