Nope -- it's just the same old same old:
Donald J. Trump plans to throw Bill Clinton’s infidelities in Hillary Clinton’s face on live television during the presidential debates this fall, questioning whether she enabled his behavior and sought to discredit the women involved.Wait -- there must be more. Here's a separate Times story enumerating Trump's likely areas of attack. They are:
Mr. Trump will try to hold her accountable for security lapses at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and for the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens there.
And he intends to portray Mrs. Clinton as fundamentally corrupt, invoking everything from her cattle futures trades in the late 1970s to the federal investigation into her email practices as secretary of state.
* The AffairsReally, Donald? That's all you've got?
* The Impeachment
*The Cattle Futures
* The Emails
* The Benghazi Attacks
Hillary Clinton would have been attacked on all of these matters no matter who was the nominee. The only thing that's new here is that the candidate isn't going to pretend to be above the fray while surrogates and media allies do all the dirty work. This year, the candidate is going to be doing a lot of the attacking himself.
And the candidate is Trump, of course. The media admires Trump for turning the primaries into a months-long schoolyard brawl, and for winning that brawl. He won, of course, because he was appealing to voters of a rageoholic party in which it's widely believed that the answers to all questions are simple, emotionally satisfying, and focused exclusively on hurting one's political enemies; the electorate in November won't be like that, but the press loves a winner, and Trump still acts like one, even if he trails Clinton in every poll. The press wants to see someone take a swing at Hillary Clinton this way, and it's just so awesome that it might happen in what used to be a forum for reasonably serious answers to mostly serious questions.
Donald Trump plans to throw Bill Clinton’s infidelities in Hillary Clinton’s face on live TV during the debates https://t.co/F2PIkxENXs— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) May 16, 2016
In a more typical Republican smear campaign -- see, for instance, the Swift Boaters in 2004 -- the media barely attempts to establish the truth of the attacks because, gosh, they're not coming from the candidate or official surrogates, and the campaign strenuously denies any connection to the smears. Won't the media response be different if the smears are coming directly from the nominee? You'd think the press would assess them more carefully -- but because the smears will be coming from Trump, the press response will probably be Trump as General Election Smear Merchant: Still Awesome at This, or Not Quite as Awesome as in the Primaries?
I thought Trump was going to dredge up something a bit more predictable than Bill's zipper problem and Benghazi -- then I realized that he's lazy and ill-informed and probably doesn't have a true opposition research team apart from Roger Stone. So we're going to get the moldy oldies. And the press is going to get all excited about them all over again. That would have happened anyway, because the press always wants to see Hillary Clinton taken down a peg, but there'll be extra excitement, because it's (be still, our fluttering media hearts!) Trump. So we'll see how it plays out.