If you’ve got anything made of Kevlar lying around the house, you might want to wrap that around you too. Trump is a loose cannon even under the best of circumstances; a Trump who sees his grand project crumbling around him under the biggest spotlight of his life will lose all restraint. Likely result: Full nuclear release.
I’ll play devil’s advocate, though, and argue that neither candidate really has an incentive to fling feces about sex scandals tonight, no matter how many people watching want to see this get nasty. From Hillary’s standpoint, why bother? Attacking Trump for the tape gives him an excuse to call Bill Clinton a rapist and Hillary his enabler. The public reaction to that is unpredictable. Besides, the media’s already plunging its knives into Trump ecstatically over the “grab them by the p***y” audio. Every voter in America will hear about it next week even if she doesn’t say a word. She might as well stay “above the fray.” From Trump’s standpoint, anything he can do to avoid talking about the tape before a gigantic audience is obviously all to the good. And avoiding the salacious stuff about Bill in favor of prosecuting the policy case against Hillary would underline his campaign’s message about the tape, which is that while it’s regrettable and inexcusable, this election is ultimately about restoring power to the people from a corrupt Washington establishment. Trump needs to turn the election into a referendum on change versus the status quo. If instead he turns it into a referendum on whether he or Bill is the bigger scumbag, he almost certainly loses — not just because Bill’s not on the ballot but because Trump’s already in a deep hole in polling on “presidential temperament.” Like it or not, most Americans like Bill Clinton and dislike Trump. A popularity contest between the two won’t go Trump’s way.
Be that as it may, though, Trump and Hillary obviously will engage on this subject tonight. The moderators will make sure of it even if none of the townhall questioners do. Frankly, Hillary probably has no choice but to raise the subject herself if, somehow, it goes unmentioned in the first half-hour. Otherwise she’ll be attacked (half-heartedly) by the left for having betrayed feminism by not confronting Trump to his face. And let’s face it, she probably has a trap all set for Trump related to the topic so there’ll be some payoff for Democrats even if he throws Broaddrick back at her. Stay tuned. Here’s your widget for live reaction from the Hot Air and Townhall staffs. Jazz will have a liveblog thread going here as well.