Yes, A Tax Scandal Can Take Down a Politician
2 min read
What does the story of Bill Brock foretell for Trump?
But that opening number—$750 in taxes from the self-proclaimed multibillionaire—is easy to grasp, and easy to turn into a clear political message.

The proof of this can be found in a Tennessee Senate race in 1976. First-term Senator Bill Brock, who had defeated Al Gore Sr., years earlier, was in a difficult race against Democrat James Sasser. In mid-October, after being pressured by the press about his finances, Brock conceded that he'd paid $2,026 on an income of $51,670—a rate of less than 4 percent at a time when someone making that much would have written the IRS a check for as much as 62 percent of his income.

Almost immediately, hot pink buttons began appearing reading: "I Paid More Taxes Than Brock." As the story spread, the chair of the State Labor Council held a news conference comparing…
Jeff Greenfield
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