Why Romney’s Taxes Don’t Matter

“No republican is ever going to vote for Obama because Romney doesn’t release his taxes. No Democrat is ever going to vote for Romney because he does release his taxes. .. . The reason why the democrat/Obama camp is making/keeping this an issue is twofold: In many respects, political awareness is a zero-sum game. There is only so much attention that undecided voters are going to pay to politics over the next few months. Every minute spent talking about Romney’s taxes is a minute not spent on some other topic. For Romney’s opponents, this is a cheap and easy way to hijack the debate. Romney would like to make the campaign be about the unemployment rate and the deficit. Obama would like to make the campaign be about a tax-evading vulture-capitalist. Romney’s taxes are a zero-cost topic of conversation that sucks the air out of the room. … Romney is the republican John Kerry: he aspires to be the adequate, inoffensive alternative to an un-popular, polarizing incumbent. Like every presidential race, the opinions of registered democrats and republicans are mostly irrelevant: 80% of voters were decided before the candidates were even named. The election, like all elections, will be decided by a strange and small consortium: Politically ignorant people who genuinely don’t know enough to have an informed opinion, and who are therefore genuinely persuadable by political ads, and; Genuinely conflicted independents. … All told, you are talking about maybe ~10% of total votes cast that are persuadable at this point, and the only ones that matter are in swing states: …
So maybe 0.3% of the total US population will decide the election, around 100,000 people. If the campaigns and outside groups spend $2bn, they might end up having spent $20,000 per electorally-significant, persuadable vote… This is where the tax-stuff comes into play: Obama doesn’t have a lot to run on that will win him votes. But if Mitt Romney turns out to be some kind of actual bad guy, a rich cheater and tax-evader who wants to steal from the poor and give to the rich, then there’s an angle. You have something to vote against, even if you don’t have a lot to vote for.”

otherwiseyep comments on Romney Demanded to See Ted Kennedy’s Tax Returns in 1994.