Donald Trump Is Never Going to Let You See His Taxes

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Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Charleston, WV
What you don't see can't hurt me.Photo: Mark Lyons/2016 Getty Images

Donald Trump says there is “nothing to learn” from his tax returns, and so, therefore, the American people will not be allowed to see them. Previously, he had said he would release his returns once the IRS finished auditing him (even though there is no reason why a person can’t release his or her tax returns while being audited).

There’s nothing to learn from them,” Trump told the Associated Press, adding that voters don’t care about that sort of thing anyway.

Releasing one’s tax returns has become standard practice for major-party presidential candidates. But then, Trump didn’t get this far by complying with standard practices.

You win the pennant and now you’re in the World Series — you gonna change?” Trump asked the New York Times Wednesday, when asked if he planned to moderate his rhetorical style for the general election. “People like the way I’m doing.”

Last month, Trump’s chief strategist, Paul Manafort, assured members of the Republican National Committee that the candidate would adopt a more small-c conservative persona for the fall campaign. But Trump told the Times that he has “a mandate from the people” to continue campaigning the way he has been — which is to say, as a pseudo-fascist insult comic.

Of course, the Donald hasn’t actually received a mandate “from the people,” but from a plurality of the small subset of people who turn out for Republican primary elections. According to current polling, the rest of the country is less than smitten with his current persona.

Trump’s support may be deep, but it isn’t wide, which means that his best hope for winning in November is achieving unprecedented turnout among his target demographics (white dudes, Caucasian men, European-American males, etc … ). But Trump has no plans to invest in the kind of data-driven voter-targeting operation that powered Obama’s two White House wins and that Mitt Romney tried to emulate in 2012.

"I’ve always felt it was overrated," Trump told the AP. "Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me."

Instead, Trump will rely on a large rally-based get-out-the-vote effort.

In a Broadway theater, the best, the best, absolute best sale is called ‘word of mouth,’ ” Trump told the Times. “If people love a Broadway show, it’s better than if you write a good review. Word of mouth is the No. 1 thing. And the word of mouth at my rallies is like, ‘You’ve got to go see it.’ And, you know, one person goes and they talk about it to 20 people.”

The show must go on.