From tax havens to Trump – it’s all about playing the law

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In many ways I rather suspect that Trump cannot believe his luck this morning.

He’s won enough big states as I write before 9am to say that Biden has not, as yet, got an outright electoral victory, although he leads. And in the States left to call the delays are likely to be significant. That’s been enough for him to begin the rollout of what he always planned, which is the claim that the election will now be taken from him by fraud, which he will call upon his supporters to challenge.

Trumps claims are, of course, nonsense. We knew some states, where counting was not permitted until voting ended, would be delayed. We knew there would be significant numbers of postal votes. We knew they would be predominantly Democrat votes. We knew the rules required that they be counted. We knew there was nothing untoward in this.

But Republicans are neoliberal to the core. And neoliberals long ago learned that playing by rules was not for them.

On tax they used tax havens, and other mechanisms of tax abuse.

In business they have leveraged companies for their gain at cost to everyone else, and ultimately society at large.

Electorally, every gerrymander possible has been exploited.

They don’t play by the rules, which fair competition requires and which the left still expects. Instead they play by abusing the rules any which way they can. And the left is still surprised by that.

I have no idea why. Years ago I realised that the whole offshore world was a game of pretence. No one who uses offshore really believes there is anything that really happens in tax havens. Everyone knows that supposed offshore activity is just a charade to hide what is, in effect, a giant con-trick that is maintained solely because so many apparently credible people go along with it.

The trouble is, if you can persuade yourself that something really happens in a tax haven then eventually you can persuade yourself that almost any other attempt to arbitrage the law in your favour is legitimate. And then you believe that arbitrage itself is legitimate.

And we end up with Trump claiming victory when he quite possibly hasn’t won, and he knows that, which is why the diversionary plan - the ‘make believe’ that he will arbitrage - is put in place.

We just have to hope that this time he may be rumbled.