How Clinton and Trump are preparing for the first debate says everything about how they would lead

Although both presidential candidates profess great respect and love for American democracy, let’s just get one thing clear: this election has mainly been putting one dumpster fire out after another. How Clinton and Trump are preparing for the debates shows how they would lead, and it’s not pretty. In one corner, we have Republican nominee Donald Trump. Back in the ’90s, he was a punchline because of his hair. Now, he’s a bigoted, misogynist pig that might actually win the presidential election. In the other, we have Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the nation’s first female candidate for president. I would be proud about that, except that it’s Hillary Clinton, one of the shadiest women in the world. One candidate is a 267-pound child playing “White House” in the living room. The other is a power hungry politician who thinks she’ll win because she has a vagina.

If American voters cared half as much about real politics as they do about Scandal, we could have nice things. Alas, we cannot. It doesn’t help that cable news channels are setting up the debates like HBO would a boxing match and everyone is talking about how each candidate is brushing up for the big showdown. Ah, American politics. Here’s what we know about what’s happening behind the scenes.

Hillary Clinton: Going for the low blows

Clinton is not a great campaigner, as we all know from the 2008 election. She is, for all of her faults, also a policy wonk. So she doesn’t need to brush up on any issues or worry about what questions the moderators (or audience, in the second debate) will ask her. She knows her talking points, it’s all about not boring people. Asking Clinton to prep for a debate is like asking an English major to write a 10-page paper on the fly about the The Great Gatsby — they could do it with their hands tied, on PCP. She doesn’t have to memorize or learn how to do anything new.

Instead, Clinton has been rumored to be prepping ways to “handle” Trump and rattle him. In this way, she is living up to her reputation as a Frank-Claire Underwood hybrid. She’s playing a game. Rumor has it, she’s been watching the GOP primary debates trying to gauge what kinds of things make Trump start to foam at the mouth. Clinton’s already taken some jabs at Trump, joking with Zach Galifiniakis on “Between Two Ferns” that she assumes Trump will wear his “red power tie.”

Burn. Ish.

Basically, Clinton’s secretly hoping Trump loses his shit and starts crying “not fair!” like a toddler on national television, which is mean and petty, but would also be amusing. Clinton’s team even gave Mark Cuban a front row seat at the first debate. Just to shake The Donald. Talk about a Putin-esque power play.

Verdict: She’s more of a psychological warfare kinda gal, without the great wardrobe of Claire Underwood.

Donald Trump: Wingin’ it

Trump’s ego means he thinks he can get up on a stage and just go with the flow. He’s not nervous, because Donald Trump doesn’t get nervous. He told reporters in early September, on his yuuuuuge plane, “I mean, I’ve seen some people do so much prep work that when they get out, they can’t speak.” He’s also mocked Clinton for prepping for the face-off. According to CBS News, Trump said on Thursday, “They say she’s been practicing for the debate. Some people think she’s sleeping.” Much like Clinton hopes to get Trump to make a complete asshole of himself at the debate, Trump looks like he’s going to go all-in on the “frail, sick woman” thing.

Donald Trump doesn’t need to prep his policy positions for the debate because he has made it this far just making shit up as he goes. If it ain’t broke, why fix it now? Since moderators don’t want to look too biased against him, they’ll probably let him, too. Although, somewhere, you have to imagine that Ivanka keeps trying to get her dad to go through flashcards or something on his jet to memorize state names and some of the shit he’s been saying on the campaign trail so he sounds almost human.

Verdict: Somewhere between the Big Lewbowski and Theresa Giudice.

The highest office in all the land (cue your best Disney narrator voice) is what’s really up for debate this fall. But it’s more like a bad reality television show. Both characters are unbearable, and yet, who can stop watching?