Tonight is the first Presidential debate, and the media are abuzz: Will Trump maintain his presidential composure or lose his temper? Will Hillary manage to remain vertical all the way through it? Will her Tracy Flick-like devotion to wonky homework and detailed 50-point plans make people forget that we’ve followed liberal plans like hers for the past eight years, and they’ve made a wreck of the economy and the world (seriously, she tries to scare us with what might happen if Trump were in power while ignoring that under hers and Obama’s watch, the word “beheadings” returned to the daily headlines for the first time since the French Revolution).
One thing that Hillary should be prepared for is that unlike the media, Bernie Sanders and the FBI, Trump will not roll over and make it easy for her. Her camp already tried to rattle him by inviting Trump critic Mark Cuban to sit in the front row. I can’t imagine that would bother Trump, but he returned fire with a Howitzer by inviting alleged Bill Clinton mistress Gennifer Flowers to sit in the front row, which set off a series of calls by Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick and other alleged victims, clamoring for tickets to come fill the arena.
I’m sure the media can’t believe Trump “went there,” because both they and previous GOP candidates have always studiously refused to. But Trump is a different kind on candidate in more ways than one. He’s not a genteel Ivy Leaguer who fights by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. He’s a Queens-born street fighter. I know from personal experience that he is incredibly cordial to anyone who doesn’t attack him. But if you try to sucker punch him, you’d better brace for him to slug you back twice as hard.
Still, I think that anyone hoping for a Trump meltdown will be disappointed. Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal,” and he knows how to get what he wants. He is surely aware that most Americans don’t want Hillary Clinton for President, but they’ve been frightened by a relentless media onslaught painting him as the worst human since Hitler. All he has to do is show the world that he’s nothing like that media-created cartoon and come across as a reasonable alternative to Hillary Clinton, because, just as in previous elections, that’s all that most voters are looking for.