Feels like a teaser trailer for a bigger production, which is what it is. I can imagine it playing before each of Trump’s rallies, to whet the crowd’s appetite before he launches into a 20-minute shpiel about “Rapist Bill” — who is, of course, a longtime friendly acquaintance of Trump’s and was an invited guest to Trump’s own wedding. Ostensibly it’s aimed at women voters (and younger adults, who may not remember how lurid the Clinton scandals were or why the pic here is of Bill smoking a cigar) but I think the real audience is conservatives. The surest way to further thin the ranks of #NeverTrumpers on the right is to feed them a diet of anti-Clinton bile. Trump and his new friends in the GOP leadership are eager to unify the party behind him before the convention; reminding them that the Clintons are, in fact, dirtbags is the quickest route to doing so. Trump is an “id” politician. He can’t do much to appeal to the conservative id on policy but picking fights with their enemies will do the trick. Wait until he starts in on Obama.
In fact, I think Trump hitting Bill Clinton this hard this early will force Bill to take a lower-profile role on the stump this fall, inevitably to be replaced by Obama as lead surrogate instead. That’ll help the GOP coalesce but it’ll probably help Democrats coalesce too since it’ll signal to O’s winning coalitions in 2008 and 2012 that this election is less about the “Clinton legacy” than the Obama legacy. He may have to drag her over the finish line. Just watch the second clip below, which operates as her counterpunch to the Trump ad today. Hoo boy. You can’t be the lead establishmentarian in your party and be this bad at retail politics and expect to win. Can you? Jeb couldn’t.
Either way, I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I think this is the right strategy for Trump. A bumper-sticker policy proposal here, a blithe reassurance about making America great again there, and then attack, attack, attack in terms as harshly personal as possible. Keep Billary constantly on defense and smother their message, insofar as they have any message beyond “Trump is dangerous” and it’s time for a Clinton restoration.