Here are Matt Bai’s observations on the first debate.
You get the feeling Clinton wakes up and consults her briefing books, concerned chiefly with avoiding anything off-key. She mentioned her father a few times in the debate, but the lines seemed as well ironed as the pantsuit.
Some of this is just personality, and some of it almost certainly has to do with the burdens of being a woman nominee. The media is quick to see Clinton as shrill or hectoring; emotion of any kind is more perilous for a woman, and no one should pretend otherwise.
But as Karl Rove used to say back in the day (and here he was right), you beat your opponent not by attacking his weakness but by undermining his strength. And emotion — ostensibly on behalf of white, working-class Americans — is the only ballast that keeps allowing Trump to bob back up to the surface.
How about yours?