The debate commission changed the rules and decided to mute each candidate’s microphone when the other is giving two-minute answers. This change is liable to help Trump, protecting him from his worst impulses and making him seem like less of a child. Meanwhile Trump is complaining about it, hoping to lower expectations or obtain further accommodations. It’s a win-win.

As for the topics, Welker is limited by the broad categories approved by the commission, which will preclude narrow questions about Trump’s behavior. On top of that, the usual conservative commentators have joined the president in claiming “unfairness” before she has uttered a word. Under these pressures, it is simply human nature for her to try to ensure some “balance” in the types of questions. And the prism through which many pundits and voters view the debate will be judging whether she is fair to him. Once again Trump wins.

The good news is that the reason Trump and his butt boys have to commit so much time to pre-fighting on the atmospherics is because they know that if the debate is about his actual record, he’s playing a losing hand.

He needs to be graded on a curve to even have a chance.