They want to lower viewer expectations for when they watch Clinton debate Trump.
Democrats are worried that, when voters see Clinton debate Trump, she will be disappointing. They are already trying to manage expectations.
We already know that Democrats aren’t sure how to prepare Hillary to debate Trump. Now we see them trying to manage expectations—encouraging lower ones for Hillary and higher ones for Trump.
One of the things they are saying about Donald Trump is especially shocking. They are saying he performed well during the Republican debates!
That’s not what they said at the time. Consider this story from CNN:
I guess we see how valuable “focus groups” are… they’re worthless.
Of course, evaluating debate performance is mostly a matter of seeing who acted most “presidential.” But the voters didn’t care about that. Donald Trump won over people because he came across as angry about the same things they were angry about.
Watch this evaluation of the debates from Fox Business News which shows Trump getting approval from both Republicans and Independents.
That spot also showed Cruz getting some approval when he criticized Trump, but it wasn’t about the issues that drive voters.
Republicans and Independents alike love Trump because he’s angry. And he is angry over the state of the economy, our immigration lawlessness, and our foreign policy.
What can Clinton hope to do?
How is Hillary going to change voter anger about the state of the country during the debate? Either she has a majority or she doesn’t. She’s not going to convince anyone that the country is doing fine and that Trump’s anger is baseless. The people who believe that are already in her camp.
And she can’t join in his anger about any aspect of the state of the nation because then she would be attacking President Obama.
There is only one strategy that will help Clinton debate Trump and win. She has to convince people that Trump is “unhinged,” a racist, incompetent, of lacking self-control.
And the fact that Democrats are already raising expectations of how Trump will do makes it look like they know that strategy isn’t going to work either.