I keep seeing Trump's supporters doing the same stupid thing. They try to counter an attack on Donald Trump without ever asking a simple question: what is the criticism really saying. So when Hillary Clinton brought up Alicia Machado at last week's debate, Trump's followers jumped into attack mode and sought to discredit the former Ms. Universe, bringing up her alleged criminal or pornographic past. But they never reflected on the fact that Clinton didn't bring up Machado to claim that she was perfect or was a role model. Clinton brought her up as an example of Trump horrendous treatment of women. Further trashing Machado to discredit her did not undermine Clinton's point, it supported the point--especially when the candidate himself joined in on the trashing.
And now I'm seeing the same thing in the reaction to the New York Times' story that Trump used the tax code to avoid paying taxes for almost two decades. The main point of the criticism coming out of that story is not that Trump did anything illegal in his tax scheme, it is that the scheme can only work if Trump lost almost a billion dollars in the Atlantic City mid-90s debacle, which undermines his claim that he is good at businessman. The fact that Clinton herself used the same tax deduction when she lost $700k a few years ago is not relevant to that argument. Clinton is not running on any claims of prowess as a businessperson. (And even if she were, her six figure loss is nothing like Trump's almost ten figure loss).
Once again, the Trumpites are responding to an attack without any awareness of what the attack is. And once again I marvel at the sheer cluelessness fueling the Trump movement.