Things That Matter

President Trump Would Rather Sue California Than Release His Tax Returns

With just months to spare before the 2020 election, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that would require presidential candidates to publicly release the last five years of their taxes in order to be eligible to take up space on the state primary ballot. The move turns what had been largely accepted tradition into law. In 2016, Trump was the first to refuse to release his tax returns in nearly half a century. The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act is the latest move by the Democratic party to force Trump’s hand in revealing his tax returns.

One week later, Trump filed a lawsuit against the state of California to challenge the law as adding an “unconstitutional qualification” to the pre-determined qualifications for the presidency.

Newsom tweeted directly at Trump saying, “There’s an easy fix Mr. President – release your tax returns as you promised.”

Credit: @GavinNewsom / Twitter

“Follow the precedent of every president since 1973,” he concluded. 

“These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards and to restore public confidence,” Newsom said in a statement after signing the bill.

The measure is meant to create transparency around a candidate’s “influence from domestic and foreign business interest.”

Credit: @mindyanns / Twitter

During Trump’s campaign, he had cited an IRS audit as the reason he couldn’t release his taxes. Law experts have called the excuse “hogwash” and just a pitiful attempt to dodge accountability. Trump sold himself to Americans as a self-made billionaire. He should want to back up that claim. In the years since investigative journalists at The New York Times have tried to drudge up some semblance of the truth. It’s appeared that Trump has filed for bankruptcy numerous times, raising suspicions of either tax evasion or a highly aggrandized account of his own wealth.

Former Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2017, as a “slippery slope” toward unprecedented asks of candidates.

Credit: @MyDesert / Twitter

“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” Brown had asked. “Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”

The constitutionality of Newsom’s bill will likely be decided in the Supreme Court.

Credit: @CarmenChambers / Twitter

Legal expert Rick Hasen of UC Irvine has similar concerns to Gov. Brown. If the state law is constitutional, “we might see a race to the bottom whereby other states enact ballot access requirements, such as a requirement for candidates to produce a birth certificate, which could affect which candidates can run in which states,” he told CNN.

Trump’s attorneys have been blocking access to his tax returns at all access points in recent weeks.

Credit: @ShellE719 / Twitter

House Democrats have filed for a release of his tax returns from Trump’s companies’ banks, his accounting firm and from members of his family. His legal team is hard at work to make sure Trump’s tax returns never see the light of day. 

Of course, Trump has tweeted his opposition to California’s new law, making Twitter the vehicle for civil discourse.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump / Twitter

He followed up the above tweet with a claim of “Just more of the record setting Presidential Harassment. Don’t feel badly, New York State is far worse!” Guess Trump never learned that #PresidentialHarassment for many sounds more like “grab ’em by the pussy.”

Californians are taking to Twitter to remind Trump that he didn’t care about Californian Republicans when the state was on fire.

Credit: @mmpadellan / Twitter

“Since when did YOU give a d*** about California? You told them to go rake,” comments one Twitter user. Many voters have a deep-seated mistrust of Trump after Russia interfered in the 2016 election that granted Trump the presidency. Under most other employment laws, Trump likely would have been fired for sexual harassment, ethnic discrimination and more. This user simply wants to see Trump held accountable to the same standards as previous presidents.

Others are taking the opportunity to call Congress to #ImpeachDonaldTrumpNOW.

Credit: @Terileeh2 / Twitter

If you pay your taxes, there’s really nothing to hide. America wants to know what Trump is trying to hide from the American people. If we’re all paying taxes that he’s circumvented, it makes it difficult to trust that he will understand the value and worth of our dollars. You can’t cheat the system and then be trusted to run it.

The Republican National Committee and Republican Party of California have filed a similar lawsuit against California.

Credit: @Trump_2020KAG / Twitter

They say the bill takes away voting rights from Trump’s supporters. We’ll see whether the judge believes that it’s actually Trump who is taking away voting rights from Trump supporters by withholding his tax returns or not. 

In the meantime, Trump supporters will have to plan on writing his name in the box.

READ: President Trump Is Fighting With Governor Gavin Newsom Over Undocumented Immigrants Getting Healthcare

Prince Harry And Meghan Officially Say Goodbye To Royal Life And Clapback at Donald Trump’s Attacks

Entertainment

Prince Harry And Meghan Officially Say Goodbye To Royal Life And Clapback at Donald Trump’s Attacks

meghan.harryfan / Instagram

Come and gone so soon.

When Meghan Markle became part of the British Royal family in 2018, we good apples were excited to see how the former “Suits” actress would shake-up the stuffy monarchy. Sadly, after an onslaught of racial and other colorless attacks on Markle, the family made the decision to take a step back from the limelight announcing that they would become “financially independent” in early 2020.

Today marks the first day of Prince Harry as one of us normals and the return of Meghan Markle.

Earlier this year in January, Harry and Meghan announced that they would be taking a step back from royal life and become “financially independent,” sharing their desire to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution” in an Instagram post.

In response to rumors that Meghan and Harry might be moving to the states, Donald Trump took the time to peek up from the coronavirus pandemic to comment.

“I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!” Trump tweeted.

Ahead of their official ‘goodbye’, the two released a statement made on Monday seemingly in response to this statement.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would prefer that in the immediate weeks and months, the focus remains on the global response to Covid-19,” a Sussex spokesperson said according to CNN. “However, we recognize there are outstanding questions relating to their future beyond their Household transition deadline.”


The statement came just days after United States president, Donald Trump tweeted that the United States would not pay to protect Prince Harry and his wife Meghan when they move to the states. So that’s that.

The National Popular Vote May Be The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of The Electoral College

Things That Matter

The National Popular Vote May Be The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of The Electoral College

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We may not be able to get rid of the electoral college without a constitutional amendment but a new proposal known as the National Popular Vote (NPV) is picking up a lot of steam. 

The United States is supposed to be a democracy where voters choose their leaders. In the past two decades, the will of the people has been subverted by the will of the electoral college. Imagine how the country might be different had Al Gore, an environmentalist, who won the popular vote against George W. Bush, who started the disastrous Iraq war, was elected instead? Imagine if Hillary Clinton, who hasn’t been accused of sexual assault two dozen times, and beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes had secured her seat in the oval? 

15 states and the District of Columbia have already adopted NPV.

“As signatories, each jurisdiction pledges to select Electoral College members who support the presidential candidate who won the most votes nationally, regardless of which candidate won the most votes in that particular jurisdiction,” according to the Atlantic

NPV is an interstate compact that requires a certain level of commitment from neighboring states. The pact will go into effect when participating states total 270 electoral college votes (the required number for the president-elect). The 16 regions that have made the commitment are already at 196 electoral college votes. 

NPV is also making waves in state politics on a lower level. It appear state officials are paving a way to pass the pact.

“The National Popular Vote bill has now passed a total of 40 state legislative chambers in 24 states. It has also passed at least one legislative chamber in 8 states possessing 75 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, OK).  It has been unanimously approved at the committee level in 2 states possessing 27 more electoral votes (GA, MO),” according to NationalPopularVote.com.

The plan would not totally eradicate the electoral college but it would mean that state leaders have made a commitment to effectively ignore it. Voters often express conflicting attitudes about candidates: they really love one candidate, but question if they can win the electoral college. Proponents of NPV would argue such compromises have no place in a democracy and NPV can help eliminate the conflict altogether. 

NPV could solve two major issues with the electoral college.

There are two major longstanding issues with the electoral college. The first is that our system is based on the premise of “one voter, one vote.” However, the system is skewed in favor of voters in a few small states. Electoral votes are determined by the number of representatives in Congress which is determined by the state population. 

The Washington Post notes that while small states receive a minimum of three electoral votes, larger states have limits on how many electoral votes they can receive. 

” Wyoming, with 586,107 residents — gets three electoral college votes… Consider that California, the most populous state, has 39,144,818 residents and 55 electoral college votes,” according to the paper. “That means that in the electoral college, each individual Wyoming vote weighs 3.6 times more than an individual Californian’s vote.” 

The second issue is the “winner take all” effect, where no matter how small a margin of victory a candidate has, they take all the electoral votes. This means our election outcomes are determined by a few swing states. While some argue that a popular vote will hurt the Republican party, such detractors might ask why Republicans are unable to curry enough favor to win over most American voters. 

The electoral college also disenfranchises about 4 million voters who live on territories.

“Roughly 4 million Americans live in the United States’ five permanently populated overseas territories — and they have no voice in selecting a president. That includes Puerto Rico, the United States’ most populous overseas territory, whose population is larger than that of 21 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the Washington Post. 

While residents of the territories can participate in primaries (Marco Rubio won the Puerto Rican GOP primary by a landslide in 2016, for example), they have no electoral votes with the exception of Washington, D.C. 

“More and more, the United States is likely to elect presidents who haven’t won the popular vote — awarding the presidency to a party that has no popular mandate. The compromises behind the U.S. election system are failing at their goals,” Katy Collin wrote for the Washington Post

One of the original intentions of the electoral college may have been to give smaller states a voice, but it has essentially assured that smaller states are the only voices that matter when it comes to picking our most important leader.