The two presidential nominees taking the debate stage at Hofstra University on Monday night will enter one of the most highly anticipated political slugfests in recent history with vastly different goals.
To accomplish those goals, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may find themselves struggling against their own instincts and personalities as much as each other.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released over the weekend shows more voters expect Clinton to win the debate than Trump, but by a smaller margin than they expected President Obama to defeat Mitt Romney in the first debate of the 2012 race.
“[Clinton’s goal] is easy, but hard for her to do, and that is to look likable and authentic,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said.
“The biggest risk for her is to get too far down in the weeds and look wonkish,” O’Connell said.
Trump may have to resist his natural tendency toward showmanship if he wants to come across as a serious and credible leader, rather than looking like a clown, according to Schroeder.
O’Connell believes Trump is aware of the risks and will be trying not to appear too bombastic while still conveying strength.
“Better than she does, he understands the medium of TV,” he said. “He is a showman who knows how body language comes across. That’s the one thing that could be a killer for her.”
“His goal is he’s got to look plausible,” O’Connell said.