Who will win the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

That's easy.

Clinton should destroy him.

She'll take him into the deep waters of policy that he doesn't quite understand and she'll hold him under.

If you're a Trump fan upset with the horde of panic-stricken Hillary-lovers in the media these days, rest assured that I am no Hillary lover. As I've previously confessed, I'm something of a Clinton loather.

But I can't help calling things the way I think I'll see them when Clinton and Trump meet in their first debate at Hofstra University in New York on Monday.

It could easily turn out this way:

Hillary, the first Nixonian female candidate for president, will be somewhat shaken after the debate, but very much alive (politically).

And Donald? He'll be floating face down (politically) in a muddy river, a waterlogged Cheeto, bumping up against the stumps on the far bank.

Yes, Clinton has lost her big lead in the political polls. Yes, she's outraised and outspent him, yet her double-digit cushion is gone, and he's overtaking her in the battleground states.

So Trump has got the Big Mo, and recent events, like the terrorist bombings in New Jersey and New York, may work in his favor.

That said, she's fighting for her political life now, even as her pundit friends in the media suffer hysterics and the heebie-jeebies, judging by their terrified tweets of late.

It is their lot to panic, and to write essays pleading with their brethren not to panic. The Beltway media for the most part serves an American political establishment now under great threat of a popular uprising. Hillary is undoubtedly the establishment candidate.

And that uprising is led, at least for now, by Trump, whom her allies -- and many of her enemies -- consider to be the barbarian at their gates.

That's what this election has become: an uprising of those so-called deplorables, who feel as betrayed by the establishment Republicans as they do by the Democrats.

That's why this is so close when common wisdom tells us that, with all her money and positioning, she should be far out front. Hence, the panicky tweets.

But Mrs. Clinton won't panic.

She has spent a lifetime in politics and policy. Mr. Trump has not.

She will offer an image of stable leadership. And he can't help shooting from the hip.

Talking tough like a guy from Queens at a bar watching TV news may have worked on those GOP establishment suits who lined up against him in the Republican primaries. But it just won't do in a nationally televised presidential debate with the whole world watching.

Since John Kennedy put on TV makeup and flashed those white teeth at the sweaty Richard Nixon, American presidential debates have been about style. And style makes fights.

He's the slugger. She's the boxer.

The race is so close now that Trump's slightest gaffes will be exaggerated, and there will be great pressure on journalists to show him as temperamentally unfit for the office.

But I don't think he'll make slight gaffes. I think he'll make a huge one.

Why?

Because he's Trump. He doesn't peel a grape with an ax. He uses a chain saw. And she knows it.

He's already been led into a trap with his attacks on the Gold Star Khan family after they mocked him at the Democratic convention.

Trump behaved as badly as Clinton profilers knew he would. It hurt him. And his inability to resist easy bait could prove fatal in the first debate. He gives chase and lunges when off leash.

Think of a raccoon fighting for its life against a dog, luring him into a river before she turns, then climbs up on that dog's nose to drown it.

Already I can hear the shrieks of the Clintonistas damning me for comparing her to a raccoon, forgetting that in this fable, Trump is the reckless hound.

I mean it not as an insult, but as a sincere compliment, since raccoons are formidable when they're threatened. They're ingenious at defeating traps. They're also quite nimble, smart and tenacious, and so is she.

Fortunately, I've never seen a raccoon drown a hound dog in a river, but I did watch an old "Twilight Zone" episode once when I was a boy.

It involved an old mountain man and his faithful coon hound named Rip. They drowned together, the dog by a raccoon in the water, the old man jumping in trying to help.

In pure "The Twilight Zone" fashion, they woke up on a country road in the afterlife, forced to make that final choice.

I won't spoil it for you, so I'll say no more.

So whether Trump will recover from this first (projected) debate drowning in this Twilight Zone election, I can't say.

But he won't be standing before a crowd of fans. He'll be standing before Hillary Clinton.

And she'll be ready for him on the edge of the deep water, daring him to lunge in after her.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.