And yet the media has decided that it's Clinton who needs to be concerned about her performance tonight. Here's Rick Klein of ABC News:
Could it be that there’s actually more pressure on Hillary Clinton at the final debate than on Donald Trump? ... Clinton is now less than three weeks away from being elected president, barring a stunning collapse. Acting like that means not just rebutting and attacking Trump but going broad, reminding voters of her promise, not just her opponent’s weaknesses. There’s an opportunity if not an urgency for her to use the final presidential debate to appear downright presidential.An urgency? Because if she doesn't ... what? She'll beat Trump by 7 rather than by double digits? She'll win just under 350 electoral votes rather than 350-plus?
Oh, sorry -- this is about the country. Howard Fineman explains that America is going to hell in a handbasket, and if that doesn't change, it's all Hillary's fault:
Unlike the first two presidential debates, the third one, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is all about Hillary Clinton. And she has more than the usual simple burden of trying to win an election.Oh, please. Even if Clinton could wins all 50 states and every electoral vote, Trump would still insist that the election was rigged, and millions of his cultists would agree with him. In fact, I predict he's going to say the size of her victory is precisely why we should think the election was rigged. (Crooked Hillary got 57% of the vote? Big deal -- in North Korea, Kim Jong-un gets 99% of the vote!)
Perhaps it’s unfair -- politics is unfair -- but the state of the country and its tattered politics requires that the Democratic nominee do more than just eke out a victory.
Clinton has to win BIG, so she can at least have the chance to protect public trust in the machinery of elections, in the ability of the federal government to function, and in the credibility of American democracy.
She has to close the sale, on her own terms and on her own behalf.
If she doesn’t -- if she performs poorly in Wednesday’s debate and in the last three weeks of the campaign -- she risks a close result that could leave GOP nominee Donald Trump wounded but unbowed, and unwilling to accept the results of the Election Day count.
If she doesn’t, as president she will face a once-again divided government in Washington with no mandate and no power to deal.
And let's not put all the blame on Trump -- even if Democrats manage to win back the House as well as the Senate, Republicans are going to hunker down for yet another round of obstruction-by-any-means-necessary, just the way they did after Barack Obama's big victory in 2008. Hillary Clinton can't do anything about that. That's the GOP's nature. That's who Republicans are. That's what Republican voters demand.
But beyond having to clean up all the damage done to America (and about to be done) by Trump, the GOP, and Republican voters, Clinton, we're told, must prepare for the possible appearance tonight of a person who doesn't exist: Nice Donald Trump. That's according to Aaron Kall of USA Today:
Clinton must also be on guard for a Hail Mary of a completely different variety. Trump could announce he will serve as president for only a term, paving a quicker path for Mike Pence. He could pledge a multimillion-dollar donation to Planned Parenthood or another women’s group. Anything is possible and tens of millions of Americans will be watching to see how Clinton handles this final faceoff with a nominee like no other.Why is every political journalist in America besotted with the idea of a presidential candidate announcing plans to serve only one term? It never happens, and yet there's always speculation about it, even though there's absolutely no evidence that voters would care.
And in the case of Trump, why would it matter? If you think Trump is an impulsive man-baby with a hair-trigger temper, do you seriously believe the damage he could do to the country would be slow in developing? Do you think he's going to set schemes in motion that will take more than four years to do harm? He's going to be a national and global menace fast. And the worst bills he'll sign from the GOP Congress will come in the first year.
But I really love the notion that he's going to have a sudden attack of thoughtfulness: Here's an idea: Even though I've been power-mad all my life, why don't I undergo a complete personality transplant and agree to give up the presidency after one term? And never mind the fact that I have idiot right-wing evangelicals wrapped around my finger with this "pro-life justices" talk -- why don't I do a complete 180 on reproductive rights and lose half my fan base? Yeah, that's plausible.
But hey, Hillary, I suppose all of this could happen, so, while you're singlehandedly saving America from messes other people created, be prepared for this 0.000001% possibility.