The term “October surprise” is an evergreen in politics, but it seems dated this time around. Nobody will be surprised at whatever the Democrats and their operatives in the media throw at Donald Trump. On the flip side, Trump forces will slime Hillary Clinton, with almost every media outlet quick to ignore dirt and defend her.

The latest hysterical anti-Trump salvo comes from the Gray Lady (a/k/a The New York Times), which got an anonymous gift in the mail – selected pages from Trump’s 1995 state tax returns from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. They reported carry-forward losses of $916 million.

The Times consulted with “tax experts” and determined that such a massive loss stuffed into a single year “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.” Those trying to pass this off as a scandal hope you read over the word “legally.” They also hope you don’t notice that Clinton and the Times’ parent company itself have used the same section of the tax code.

Indeed, this doesn’t even seem like news when Trump’s 1997 book, “The Art of the Comeback,” is examined. Early in it, he talked of having a negative net worth of $900 million. The New York media gleefully speculated about Trump’s financial problems through the early 1990s, and this new evidence seems to confirm those stories.

But could there be more to this affair than meets the eye? The return address on the envelope send to the Times was “Trump Tower.” Likely a joke, but consider this: If Trump had released his old tax returns — say, starting in 1995 — the carry-forward loss would have been conveniently ignored by media eager to scream that “Trump paid no taxes for X years, while you did.” This leak all but assures that if future returns reach the public eye, the carry-forward angle will have been well explored.

There is also a chance the story could take a different turn. As The Wall Street Journal editorial board notes: “Trump has driven his political opponents to embrace the cause of tax reform so the wealthy have fewer loopholes to exploit. That seems to be the inescapable logic of the media and Clinton campaign’s reaction …”

Inescapable logic, they say. Bah. The next time the left even recognizes logic will be the first.