By Cody Cain
May 27, 2016
IDEAS
Cain is a writer

What is the single greatest aspect about Donald Trump that most convinces his supporters that he would be a great CEO of America?

Simple. It is the fact that Trump is super rich.

His supporters know that Trump flip-flops. They know that he lies. They know that he is a buffoon. But they don’t care. None of that matters. They are dedicated to him anyway. Why? Because Trump is super rich and this proves to them that Trump knows how to be successful.

Trump tells his fans that as president, he will apply his wondrous know-how that made him filthy rich all for the benefit of ordinary Americans, and this will then make America great again.

Without the wealth, however, Trump is no more than just another loud-mouth.

So Hillary Clinton must address and debunk this aspect about Trump. It is absolutely crucial. Clinton must present a clear and convincing case as to why Trump’s vast riches do not qualify him to be president.

Clinton recently attempted to do just that. Disturbingly, however, she utterly failed. Clinton’s approach was to reference a past quote from Trump about how he had hoped the housing market would crash because then he could buy-up assets on the cheap and make a lot of money for himself. She attempted to shame him by saying that Trump selfishly cared only about his own personal profits and not about the millions of Americans who lost their homes in the crisis.

Clinton’s approach was a blunder. Trump shot right back by saying that as a businessman he knows how to identify opportunities for success even in bad situations, and that as president he would employ this skill for the benefit of ordinary Americans.

BAM! Trump hit it out of the park. Home run.

This is exactly why his supporters believe that Trump will be better for the nation than Clinton. It demonstrated to many people that Trump knows how to be successful, and that Clinton has no clue how to be successful.

Clinton has attempted some other approaches as well. She referenced that Trump had a few companies that failed and wound-up in bankruptcy, and she stated that therefore Trump as president would lead the nation into bankruptcy.

But again, this utterly misses the point. Trump is super rich. Trump has been tremendously successful. It doesn’t matter that a few of his ventures failed. Overall, he has been spectacularly successful. And his success is on full display for everyone to see with Trump giving interviews from his gleaming penthouse apartment and flying around to campaign stops in his own massive jet. Clinton’s lame attacks seem to underscore her own inadequacy, and Trump’s supremacy.

Clinton also attempted to ridicule Trump for his failed casino by asking rhetorically how anyone could possibly lose money running a casino. This just rings false and hollow. Trump’s casino is surely not the world’s only example of a failed casino. In fact, the entire casino industry in Atlantic City has suffered grievously. This just makes Clinton seem as if she has no solid arguments against Trump, which makes Trump appear ever stronger.

Clinton must do better. Clinton must make the case as to why Trump’s wealth does not qualify him to be president.

One potential argument seems apparent.

Let’s ask ourselves, how, in fact, did Trump make his money? Did he invent a new product, say, the way Steve Jobs invented the iPhone? No. Did Trump create a new computer application to make life easier for millions of people, say, the way Bill Gates created Windows? No. Did Trump develop a new way for people to better communicate with each other, say, the way Mark Zuckerberg developed Facebook? No.

So what did Trump do? Well, Trump built or bought a handful of luxury real estate properties. That’s all. Nothing more than that. There is nothing particularly special or unique about Trump’s properties. They are just luxury properties designed for wealthy people, some commercial and some residential, no different than all of the other luxury properties designed for wealthy people.

So if Trump did not do anything special, how did Trump become so wealthy? Simple. The market went up. That’s all. And Trump had absolutely nothing to do with that. Luxury real estate has skyrocketed in price, and Trump benefitted from it.

As further evidence of this, when the luxury real estate market went down in the late 1980s, so too did Trump. If Trump were the genius he proclaims, he would have foreseen this and avoided it.

Now, Trump bristles at the suggestion that he was bankrupt. His denials of bankruptcy led to an uproar of accusations that he was flat-out lying about it. In a half-truth, half-deception, Trump conceded that several of his companies filed for bankruptcy, but Trump boasted that he never filed for bankruptcy himself, personally.

While it is true that Trump never filed for personal bankruptcy, this assertion is highly deceptive. Trump himself even said so much. In a story that Trump appears to have told in many variations, Trump and Marla Maples, now one of his former wives, were walking down a New York City street and Trump pointed to a homeless man and said to Maples that this homeless man was worth $1 billion more than Trump. What Trump meant by this was that while the homeless man owned nothing at all, Trump was far worse off than the homeless man because Trump had incurred $1 billion more in debts than he owned in assets.

The reason Trump was spared from having to file a legal claim in court for his own personal bankruptcy was because the banks bailed him out with an emergency rescue loan package. The banks rescued Trump not to save him for any reason, but for their own benefit. If Trump had filed for personal bankruptcy, all of his assets would have been sold in a fire-sale auction and this would have depressed the prices and resulted in great losses to the banks.

So Trump is not any sort of a genius. When the market goes up, Trump goes up, and when the market goes down, Trump goes down. That’s all. Trump tells us how smart he is and how great he is, and this appears to be backed-up by his extraordinary wealth. But the reality is that Trump had very little to do with it. The art of the comeback? That’s a joke. There was no artfulness by Trump. The overall market is what came roaring back and Trump just so happened to be along for the ride by dumb luck.

Clinton could turn Trump into a prime example of all that is wrong in our economic system that has resulted in such drastically unfair wealth inequality. Trump is a guy who was born into wealth and privilege, he merely went into his father’s already established real estate business, and then, without doing anything extraordinary himself to benefit society, Trump became fabulously wealthy when income inequality took-off like a rocket for the benefit of the wealthy and at the expense of everyone else. When a cartoon character like Trump can become filthy rich without contributing much of anything to society, this proves that our system is in dire need of an overhaul.

But if Clinton fails to make the case as to why Trump’s wealth does not qualify him for the White House, then we will all suffer through the reasons in real life under President Trump.

 

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST