Anonymous has declared total war on Donald Trump. This isn’t the first time the hacker collective has decided somebody has to go, of course, but it does raise an important question. What can Anonymous do to Trump? Currently, the plan is to crash a bunch of Trump-related websites, which is more or less the equivalent of going around town and ripping down his flyers. But if Anonymous really decides to go after Trump, he could be in some fairly serious trouble.
Somewhat lost amid the usual hubbub is that Trump is embroiled in an enormously ugly lawsuit over one of the many, many products he has slapped his name on, Trump University. There’s already plenty of media coverage, but even a simple document dump would likely put Trump in an awkward position if it proves he was aware of the fraud and did nothing.
But there’s plenty more out there that could damage Trump, who has an extensive, and awkward, legal history. The biggest target, for Anonymous, is likely Trump’s financials. Trump has yet to disclose his tax returns despite an increasing drumbeat for him to do so, and many have argued that he’s worth far, far less than he claims. That’s the last thing Trump wants out there, as a key part of his appeal is the idea that he doesn’t have to accept money from, and thus won’t find himself beholden to, GOP donors.
If Anonymous can prove Trump can’t self-finance his campaign as he claims, that would do much more than just embarrass him. Presidential campaigns are billion-dollar enterprises. If Trump is the nominee and has to refuse donor money to maintain support, it would put him in a difficult spot and would make it simple for the Democratic nominee to overwhelm him.
Beyond that, though, one does have to ask what else can be done to Trump that he hasn’t done to himself. A recent ad commissioned by a Republican group is simply reading back things Trump has said in public about women. Perhaps all Anonymous really needs to do is wait, and let Trump hurt himself.