Each candidate has to exceed expectations. The low expectation for Trump is that he’ll look ignorant. He can exceed that by simply pouring on the bullshit. He’s good at that.

The low expectation for Clinton is that she’s a cold, manipulative bitch. She has to look warm. She’s actually good at that. But she also has to look like an expert — like the grownup in the room. It’s hard to do both, particularly if you’re an older woman.

Will Clinton goad Trump into losing control? If I were her, that’s what I’d try to do. However, Trump seems like the kind of guy who’s an expert at SEEMING like he’s in control (like his pal Chris Christie). I’d love to see Trump go bananas and swarm over the podium, fists flailing, only to be restrained by the Secret Service while Clinton calmly sips water. But that’s not going to happen.

Another low expectation for Clinton is that her opponents expect her to come off like senile, palsied old lady. That’ll be a cinch for her to exceed. But how healthy will she look overall? And don’t point me to videos where she seems to be losing her mind. I guarantee you that if I videotape anyone for every waking minute — which is what happens when you run for President — I can produce great swathes of video that make the person look like they’ve completely lost it. Everybody occasionally gets caught in a stammer vortex, loses track of what they’re saying, puts their foot in their mouth, and comes off angry.

I don’t expect to see a decisive moment — something like Romney’s 47% remark, or Kerry’s “for it before I was against it,” or the elder Bush’s encounter with a supermarket price-scanner — only on live TV. I’d love it if it happened to Trump, but I don’t expect it.

Only 20 minutes to go, so I don’t expect much discussion. I just wanted to get these thoughts written down before the actual debate begins.

We’ll be watching late. No spoilers!

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