For the benefit of all involved in the 2016 presidential election process, Republican nominee Donald Trump should release his tax returns.
The mystery of Trump’s tax returns has intrigued politicians and voters since the primaries.
In May, Trump told The Associated Press that he would not release his tax returns because “there's nothing to learn from them." One day later, he tweeted a message stating that he would release the tax reports after a routine audit was complete.
After securing the Republican nomination for president, Trump has said that he will not release his tax returns. Paul Manafort, the nominee’s chief strategist, told The Huffington Post that he does not believe Trump ever will release the documents.
Manafort said that the information simply is too complicated for the American public to handle. “His tax returns are incredibly complicated,” he said. “I wouldn't understand them, so how are the American people going to?”
Perhaps Manafort has a point. The entire American population may not have the proper accounting and financial background to interpret these highly questioned documents.
Someone with the right knowledge, however, could easily read and interpret the information for the American people.
Republican Senator Sean Duffy stated, quite simply, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “We deserve all the information about these candidates that we can get our hands on to make an educated vote in November."
Duffy, who originally supported Marco Rubio in the primaries and now backs Trump, believes that Donald Trump should release his tax returns out of fairness to the American people.
Traditionally, presidential nominees have complied with the American public’s requests regarding this issue. In 2012, Mitt Romney released tax returns that revealed embarrassing information about his habits of evading certain taxation.
Though the reports were controversial, Romney followed a tradition of honesty and transparency, a tradition to which Trump does not seem to adhere.
Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University, claims: “In American history, we’ve never had a major presidential candidate who fabricated facts with the regularity of Donald Trump.”
Government and Sociology professor Theda Skocpol of Harvard agrees, saying, “Trump lies constantly and shamelessly. I do think he is in new territory.”
These professors are not alone in their belief that Trump is dishonest, and holding out on releasing his tax returns gives the American people reason to believe that he could be hiding something.
In order to earn back the trust of potential voters, Trump should release his tax returns.
Clinton supporters’ desire to see these documents is for a rather obvious reason: they want to find a loophole, cut-corner, or financial catastrophe that could ruin Trump’s chances at the presidency.
It is possible, however, that releasing tax returns would be a favorable option for Trump supporters, as well.
Choosing to follow a tradition of honesty could benefit the GOP nominee. If nothing is found, the example of transparency could even win back some of the support that Trump has lost in the past few weeks.
As Senator Duffy said, openness is the best policy.
Candidates should choose to release important information before media and others have the opportunity to expose the information for them.