…..Republicans, especially delegates, have every right not just to ask for, but to demand, the release of the returns before the convention. With a crew of Lois Lerners running the IRS, those returns surely will leak right after the nomination is made formal.

Jennifer Rubin makes much the same point in a very good piece of her own today. She writes that Trump’s refusal to release his returns “is not only unprecedented, but it also goes to the heart of the Trump campaign. He’s sold himself as a successful billionaire, one who wants the United States to “win” and who deplores foreign countries and illegal immigrants “stealing” our jobs. But what if his tax returns show he is much poorer than he has ever admitted, has shady foreign investments and tax havens, has given little in charity (or only to left-wing groups), or in fact has been audited and found to have violated tax laws? The entire Trump image crumbles. Moreover, there is a fundamental principle of fairness at work here. He said he would do release his returns, and people voted for him with the confidence that we would dispel any notion of a hidden bombshell. Delegates were selected and pledged to him on that basis. Now, the GOP faces the potential for its nominee, through leaks and hacks, to have damaging tax records released — when it is too late for the party to do anything about it.”

This is unconscionable. And it’s not as if Trump has a reputation for honesty with regard to his finances….

Read the full reflection here.

Meanwhile, I insist in another blog post that character counts — and that Trump’s character is disqualifying. For just a taste of my argument, see this excerpt:

Trump isn’t just a serial adulterer, but brags about it. Trump isn’t just somebody who looks away when white supremacists make common cause with him; he encourages them, openly retweets their vile messages, and declines numerous requests to disavow them. Trump doesn’t just use sketchy dodges to avoid military service; he insults the service of POWs, takes legal action against veterans trying to hawk street wares outside of his buildings, and says this his equivalent of Vietnam was negotiating the 1970s without contracting venereal disease. Trump openly incites violence at his rallies, doubles down on vile smears of female journalists who complain (rightly) about being improperly grabbed and jolted by his campaign manager, lies with such abandon that media fact checkers literally have trouble keeping up, says the best way to seduce women is to treat them “like sh**,” pretends to have opposed a war he supported, likens one opponent to a child molester, insults the looks of the wife of another opponent, and accuses the same candidate’s father of collaboration with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald….

Finally, I repeat, for those with open minds: Poll analysis, other data analysis, historical example, and the considered opinion of a number of political veterans with a boatload of victories to their credit, all argue that it will be easier, not harder, to keep Hillary Clinton from the Oval Office if a strong third candidate runs than if Clinton takes on Trump head-to-head. Please trust me on this: I’ve both seen the numbers and have a proved history (with 2006 being the only major exception in 25 years) of predicting political results correctly even when almost nobody else did (and yes, including times when I very much hoped I was wrong, because I was predicting against my own wishes).

Within a week, I hope and expect everybody to see a strong third option, and to see poll numbers showing that option quite competitive. This will be a #NeverTrump and a #NeverHillary effort. Stay tuned.