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USA Today released a groundbreaking report yesterday detailing hundreds of instances in which Donald Trump failed to pay contractors hired to work on his hotels and resorts. The paper counted “[a]t least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings” in which scores of carpenters, painters, waiters, bartenders, lawyers, and other employees and contracted companies accuse Trump of bilking them on the bill, in some cases bankrupting family businesses.

Trump’s response? The same as it’s always been: It’s their fault for not doing the job up to his standards! But then how did a “really smart person” hire so many “incompetents”?

This follows a similar pattern: Trump delegitimizes institutions — in this case, contracts, and elsewhere: the judiciary, the Republican primary, trade deals, NATO, the media — when they become inconvenient for him, and then uses his money and fame to push the victims of his behavior into the shadows.

Now, of course, he’s running for president. Will the American people elect a man who has such a steady pattern of burning his business relationships?

The entire USA Today report is worth a read. For the time-crunched and the Trump-exhausted, here’s their primer:

Photo and video: USA Today

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, and former President Donald Trump.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

In the professional stratum of politics, few verities are treated with more reverence than the outcome of next year's midterm, when the Republican Party is deemed certain to recapture majorities in the House and Senate. With weary wisdom, any pol or pundit will cite the long string of elections that buttress this prediction.

Political history also tells us that many factors can influence an electoral result, including a national crisis or a change in economic conditions — in other words, things can change and even midterm elections are not entirely foretold. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, too.

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