February 26, 2016

The goal of Republican elites this week has been the total, complete, and devastating takedown of Donald Trump.

There's just one problem. It's not working. Well, mostly not working. There is at least one attack that might have a chance of working, and who better to troll Trump on his tax returns than Mitt Romney, right?

During the debate, that topic came up and it was possibly Trump's worst answer. He claimed all of the years of his tax returns are under audit, and therefore he cannot possibly release them until the audits are finished. That excuse might work for the poorly educated, but it's not going to fly in a general election.

Mitt started tweeting in the middle of the debate:

Now Mitt may be trolling on Twitter, but Ted Cruz took it up a notch or two in the spin room after the debate.

"It was also astonishing that Donald still refuses to hand over his tax returns," Cruz began. "It raises the real question, 'What's in there?'"

Cruz denounced Trump's audit answer as bizarre, and then said, "Listen, if those audits reveal that he committed tax fraud, Republican primary voters deserve to know that now and not in the general election."

Cruz is very, very concerned about a Trump October surprise. Watch him Lee Atwater Donald Trump here.

With full earnest Ted Cruz on display, he said, "We don't need an October surprise if the audit reveals that there's something funny in the books."

"Donald Trump is incapable of making [the case for corruption] against Hillary in the general election," he insisted, "because Hillary will laugh at him."

As well she should. And she would also laugh at Ted Cruz, because he is ridiculous.

Just so there's some truth in this post, let's clarify that IRS audits rarely reveal fraud. They're more likely to reveal errors in entries, or characterizations of something that might benefit the taxpayer more than the IRS would like. Unless Donald Trump failed to report income, it's unlikely any IRS audit would reveal fraud. It would be far more likely to reveal something like depreciation schedules that are too rapid, yielding higher deductions than the IRS thinks are applicable.

But Ted Cruz is a master of deception and the artful smear. He did a great job here, but I doubt it will be enough.

Still, it's funny to watch them all gnaw on each other's bones before they make the soup.

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