Some of the rats might want to consider returning to the ship. Donald Trump came through pretty well tonight, mainly because the focus was on the issues. As long as issues are being discussed, Trump wins.
The moderators came out of the box with questions about Trump’s 2005 video, which many people expected to be the centerpiece of tonight’s debate. The effort flopped, I thought. Bill and Hillary Clinton took appropriate shots. After ten or fifteen minutes the conversation moved on to the issues.
Thereafter, the moderators tried to help Hillary, and Trump appropriately complained a couple of times. But he got his licks in. As always, he was sometimes incoherent, but more often than not, he made more sense than Hillary, who was in full Nurse Ratched mode.
Happily, immigration figured prominently. Shockingly, in the first debate the moderator never mentioned the topic. Tonight, it was discussed extensively. That is a big plus for Trump. The exchanges on foreign policy were inconclusive, of course, but in general I think Trump did better. And there was even talk about Obamacare, which is great for Trump and Republicans.
In general, I don’t like town hall formats, but the virtue of the format tonight is that there were lots of questions about issues as opposed to the usual political stuff. Issues are good for Trump.
Trump was Trump tonight–he had some great moments, and also some incoherent ones. But he swung for the fences, for example, going after Hillary on her criminal conduct with regard to handling of national secrets. Hillary was Hillary. She yaks away in a manner that most people find obnoxious, and leaves herself open to the observation that she is all talk and no action.
The last few minutes were good for Trump. The question was, what do you admire about your opponent? Trump’s tribute to Hillary as a persistent fighter was well done.
In short, Trump won. In my opinion, he won big. We will see whether it matters.