Apr 21, 2019

Tax return bills could kick Trump off the ballot in some blue states

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A number of Republican Party officials and Trump advisers are studying a trend that has received scant national media coverage but could pose a jarring dilemma for the president: Will Trump have to choose between releasing his tax returns and having his name on the ballot in some blue states for the 2020 election?

Driving the news: Illinois' state senate recently passed a bill that would require people running for president or vice president to disclose their tax returns from the past five years.

The big picture: Illinois is not alone. Per the National Conference of State Legislatures...

"As of February 20, 2017 legislators in 18 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia) have introduced bills" to require "future presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns in order to be placed on the general election ballot."

The bottom line: None of these bills have been signed into law (yet). But it seems possible — even likely — that at least one blue state might put it in place. And that potential scenario is giving Trump allies pause.

Our thought bubble: Given Trump's determination so far to keep his taxes hidden, it's not crazy to imagine that he'd rather not be on the ballot in a state he's certain to lose than turn over his taxes.

  • Keep your eye on this — as Republican Party officials will surely do.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins