Fasten your seatbelt folks; it’s going to be a very bumpy political season between now and November.
The turbulence that we’re about to experience is not political in nature; rather it’s more rhetoric as Donald Trump begins to have a national dialogue with the American people. From his point of view, the American people should remember Bill Clinton’s past personal indiscretions with interns, and they should remember that Hillary Clinton, the then-first lady, enabled him by turning a blind eye to his activities.
It’s almost like Trump is campaigning for the 2000 race for president rather than for 2016. I believe Trump’s objective is to tie the roller coaster ride of scandals that rocked the Clinton presidency in the 1990’s to the email and foundation sagas that are drawing fresh controversy to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy today.
Trump is trying to link this year’s election as a referendum on the Clinton’s and to remind voters, in effect, that what we saw almost 20 years ago, is bound to repeat itself if there is another Clinton presidency. In other words, history will repeat itself, and when you thought we had enough of the Clintons, we’re not done, as they always skirt the rule of law for their political ambition.
An example of this is a recent Instagram video, which depicts Bill Clinton smoking a cigar, laughter coming from Hillary Clinton, images of women, and a graphic that reads, “here we go again.”
It is clear that this presidential campaign will be a race to the bottom. With both candidates having near record unfavorable ratings, which has Trump with a 60 percent unfavorable rating and Clinton at 53 percent unfavorable, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Trump is a brilliant marketer, and he leaves nothing to chance. He’s pretty loose on the campaign trail as it relates to facts, but he’s pretty good at being on the offense. In other words, he knows what he’s doing. He knows that his unfavorable ratings are on par with Clinton’s, so the only thing he can do is drive up hers even more while trying to improve his.
It’s a classic campaign strategy that has proven to work time and time again: define myself with positives and define your opponent with negatives. Remember the 2012 campaign where Obama painted himself as the forward-leaning candidate who was the keeper of the steady economic progress and the 47 percent comment by Romney? Bottom line is that Trump is trying to do with Clinton and Clinton is trying to do the same thing with Trump by reminding voters of Trump’s comments about minorities, women and others.
So far, Trump is winning. The news cycle that is. A good measure of this is that we’re talking about news that happened nearly 17 years ago.
“What he is doing is he is exposing, not just Bill Clinton for what he was and what he had done, but it’s the same as it relates to Hillary,” Michael Cohen, Trump’s legal counsel, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“She attacked Mr. Trump as being a sexist, misogynist, and he is not any of those things,” Cohen said, portraying Hillary Clinton as an “enabler” of her husband’s dalliances.
But the interesting twist that Trump and his attorney left out of the story is that Trump has had a colorful personal life as well. Throughout the 1990’s, the New York papers were littered with headlines of Trump’s failed marriages and his penchant for flashy women, often decades younger than him, and documented reports of sexist behavior towards women.
Who knows, Trump’s move might work. It just might put Clinton on the defense of once again defending her husband’s infelicities and turn the tide towards electing a Republican in the White House. When asked by a reporter on CNN last week, Clinton responded with a “No” when responding to the question of whether she felt compelled to defend her or her husband’s honor against Trump.
“I know that that’s exactly what he is fishing for, and you know, I’m not going to be responding.”
The real question is whether or not the American people will respond to this tactic by Trump. The Republican electorate did during the primary, and this is one of the reasons why Trump is now the nominee. Will the rest of the American electorate respond? We shall see.