The Donald, according to polls, has been making some headway against Ted Cruz by feigning a benign concern that perhaps good ole Ted isn’t a “natural born” American, and therefore isn’t eligible to be President. Trump, natch, says that he doesn’t really give  this much credence, but since he expects that Democrats will raise the issue, he’s just giving his good pal and running buddy (literal, NOT figurative) some friendly advice; to wit…that Cruz waltz into the Supreme Court, cash in a few IOUs he earned arguing before the Court, and request a declaratory judgement to the effect that he, Cruz is in fact good to go. Obviously, “The Art of the Deal” writ large.

Who knew that “Trump University” also has an unaccredited law school?

While the charge  is groundless, Cruz has been forced to deal with it. However, yesterday’s debate briefly touched on a real problem that Trump, if he is in fact the nominee, will have to confront. And right now, the Donald’s doing his best to ignore it, perhaps thinking it will go away, because nobody else has even asked  the question.

Well, I have news for Trump: It won’t.

When asked if he would put all his assets in a blind trust if he were elected, Trump ducked… saying that  “he wouldn’t care about his great company, he’d let his kids, and his wife, and some key executives  run it…That’s what a blind trust is, right?”

So now we’re all supposed to believe that this self-proclaimed “smartest guy in the room” has NO idea what a blind trust is?

As if…

And that letting his wife and kids, and people completely beholden to him, make the key day to day operating decisions, let alone long term strategic planning ones,  poses no conflict of interest?

Good luck trying to sell that one…

Trump’s situation is potentially even more dangerous, because the great majority of his wealth is tied up in real property; property that he would correctly expect to revert back to his control when he left office. And that’s the problem.

Let’s say that Trump’s fortune consisted of $10 billion in stocks. A diverse portfolio. Under the classic “blind trust arrangement” Trump would choose an independent portfolio manager, who would make all the decisions about what to buy, sell, and hold, and TRUMP WOULD NEVER KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE ACCOUNT AND WHAT TRADES WERE MADE.

This way, say,  if the blind trust had purchased $500 million in Lockheed Martin, and the Defense Dept gave the company a HUGE contract, even though it was done through competitive bidding, nobody could say that Trump influenced the decision because it would benefit  him personally.

That’s  why most blind trusts of politicians  consist mainly of US gov’t securities, or munis, or  broad-based index funds. It makes everything pure as the driven snow.

But real estate, and other hard assets..that’s a lot harder to deal with. Because if they’re not sold, then you still know what the trust contains, and then everyone can speculate on what effect anything the federal government does would have on any one asset. And Trump doesn’t want to sell his crown jewels; let alone take his name off of them.

Trump owns several golf clubs. Any regulation the EPA might issue on water and or fertilizer use now comes into play. And that’s just one possible example, likely among tens of thousands.

IOW, it won’t work. Even if we wanted to take  Trump  completely at his word, that he would behave completely above board; the Democrats and the other left-wing special interest groups wouldn’t..they’d challenge everything in court.  And the MSM would have a field day.

For Trump to disingenuously pretend that he doesn’t know what constitutes a blind trust, but that he sort of assumes it’d be OK to let Ivanka and the kids run the store for the the next 4-8 years…well, it speaks to a dangerously unserious mindset.