"What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?" -- Hillary Clinton
Oh, man. That shouting you hear in the distance is Donald Trump's advisors trying desperately to hold him back right now as he lunges for his keyboard so he can go on the Twitter tirade to end all Twitter tirades.
You knew this was coming. You knew Hillary Clinton would seize upon the revelations published by the New York Times over the weekend, the excerpt from Trump's '95 tax return that shows he declared a loss of $916 million that year -- enough to potentially absolve him from any tax debt for the next 18 years. It was always going to be an easy argument to make that it's unconscionable that Trump managed to avoid paying taxes while average, hard-working Americans who happened to be much less wealthy than him were stuck footing their own bills. But as Trump reminded everyone during the debate, taking full advantage of loopholes and workarounds that are within the law might in fact make him "smart." The Larry and Curly to his Moe, Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, even went so far as to call him a "genius."
That's why Clinton chose then to specifically go after the part of the equation that was most undeniably embarrassing to Trump: the fact that he somehow managed to lose nearly a billion dollars in the first place. The negative gross came at the end of a lengthy run of truly spectacular failure that saw Trump declaring bankruptcy four separate times. While many businesses have their ebbs and flows and are often at the caprices of the market, there's very little solid proof that Trump has ever been anywhere near the businessman he sells himself as. In fact, there's quite a bit more proof that he's just that: an image, a brand name that he's been able to market to the point where it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Trump brand is success, which is why it's always been imperative that the truth about Trump is never revealed. And that truth is that he's worth nowhere near the amount of money he says he is.
Clinton needled him on this during the first debate and you can bet she'll bring it up again before election day, because more than anything else it's something Trump is hypersensitive about. If Trump doesn't represent extreme wealth and success, then he has nothing. His whole self-made mythology goes out the window. This is why he'll never release his tax returns -- because they almost certainly prove he's full of shit, an asshole little boy merely playing the role of Richie Rich. Imagine what Trump would become if it was revealed he's just not that rich and it suddenly becomes crystal clear why it's imperative no one ever knows the truth about him. Again, this is why Clinton is hitting him here: because it's the softest of Trump's considerable soft spots. Insulting his bullshit business acumen is also, needless to say, the easiest way to provoke Trump, to bait him into coming unhinged and going ballistic.
All Clinton has to do is keep Trump in this mode for a month more -- constantly and predictably on the attack over every little carefully planned out slight -- and she'll have the election wrapped up. She's hitting him where it hurts -- and she knows he won't be able to control himself and will have to lash out in response. Don't think so? Just wait and see what his response to her insult to his supposed business "genius" will be over the next couple of days.