Another indication that Donald Trump is targeting Bill Clinton in an attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has come in the form of a social media dispatch.
Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released an Instagram video on Monday that features ominous music and audio from three women who accused the former president of sexual assault in the 1990s.
As the video approaches the end, it shows a photo of the Clintons sitting together while the words “Here we go again!” appear. Hillary Clinton is heard laughing in the background.
Trump has said in recent interviews that his campaign will continue the attacks to remind voters of the controversies involving Bill Clinton.
“The intensity and frequency of Trump's attacks are almost irrelevant” to the candidates’ platforms, Frank Sesno, American University professor of media and public affairs, told VOA, adding that "any attack will drive the media cycle.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told Bloomberg TV on Monday that Trump’s attacks are part of a strategy to “distract from an issues-based campaign.”
Marquette University political science professor Julia Azari said there is evidence voters care about the candidates’ positions on social, foreign policy and economic issues, so it would be wise for Clinton “to emphasize her expertise, but even more, her policy stances."
"The smart thing for Clinton to do would be to keep issues in the mix,” Azari added.
Trump’s ability to garner attention through traditional and newer social media channels has been made possible, Sesno said, by a very lengthy and intense campaign season: “There has been more horse race to cover, so the media have become ever more adept at and defined by the way they cover the horse race. And when the horse race is the focus, then every attack gets magnified.”
While Clinton and Trump are far apart on substance and policy experience, Azari said they share two things in common: very high national profiles and unfavorable ratings. Those factors, she said, would “make it easier for each candidate to emphasize the negative images of their opponent, and for those ideas to stick.”
Trump's stated commitment to continue his attacks represent a complete reversal from many of his previous public positions on the former president. Between 1997 and 2008, the real estate mogul participated in at least six interviews with major media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, and CNBC, defending then-President Clinton against allegations of sexual misconduct and touting his effectiveness as commander in chief.