"Anxiety and trepidation" is not nearly as catchy as Hunter Thompson's "fear and loathing." Over at the editorial desk the fiends are reaching for their red pencils and flasks.
The consensus among the cognoscenti is that the debate bar is low for Trump, high for Clinton. The presumption seems to be that Trump passes muster if he does not take the stage decked out in a Klan hood or ranting like the second coming of Il Duce.
I indulge in hyperbole, but not all that much. Mara Liasson at NPR summed up the prevailing wisdom:
The bar for Donald Trump is relatively low — he just has to show he's a plausible president, and not the outrageous, offensive character some voters see on the campaign trail. But she has to prove that she's more honest, trustworthy and likable than most voters think.
Why is the bar for Trump low and Clinton high? is this a self-evident truth? Does the way the so-called liberal media frames the scenario have anything to do it?
Meantime, Clinton cannot be assertive because "the people" do not like assertive women in politics, nor can she be passive and allow Trump to be dominant. Is someone being set up to fall short? I do not mean to suggest conspiracy. Rather, this is how things can play out when something becomes collective wisdom, group thinking, common sense, how everyone sees it.