Hillary Clinton needs to sell herself and tell more jokes. Donald Trump needs to tell the truth about things and lay out actual policies as part of his platform. Pretty much the same, right?
According to MSNBC, basically. As one Twitter user @nycsouthpaw pointed out with a telling side-by-side, the gap between what we expect from Clinton and what we expect from Trump is so vast it’s almost laughable. (Except it isn’t funny that the fate of our nation’s values, safety and basic decency wasn’t hanging in the balance.)
MNSBC suggested that Clinton has the following tasks ahead of her tonight:
- Sell her presidency (what she would do and how she would do it)
- Be the Clinton who shines in a smaller crowd
- Get those jokes off, adding levity
Trump on the other hand, apparently has to accomplish the following:
- Stop lying
- Show humility
- Fill in the gaps in his policy proposals
These two lists signal a much larger problem: Our standard for what “presidential” means when we are talking about a woman candidate is very different from what “presidential” means when we are talking about a man.
Clinton has been in the public eye for decades, so she’s fully aware of what she’s up against. She must appear likable and loose, jokey but serious, strong but not aggressive, firm but not bitchy, prepared but not too studied, deliver zingers but not be bitchy.
As she told Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton this month:
I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as “too loud” or “too shrill” or “too this” or “too that.”
Trump just has to show up and not appear completely devoid of human decency for 90 minutes.
To sum up: