Perhaps the general consensus is that Joe Biden won the first US Presidential debate, simply by not losing it. Or forgetting where he was.
But setting low expectations aside, I think Trump won. Bigly.
It was surprising that he let Biden get away with the claim that he had called neo-Nazis “fine people,” and that he did not take the offered opportunity to unambiguously condemn “white supremacists.” No doubt this will flood the MSM with anti-Trump op-eds for several days.
But I think I see his strategy. He was not, under any circumstances, going on the defensive. If he could not turn it around into a quick attack on Biden, he was going to ignore it. He was going to be the Alpha, and make Biden look Beta.
That’s exactly what I think he did. He even made Chris Wallace look Beta.
And that’s, I think, what most people actually most want in a leader. You want a guy like that on your side. You don’t want to put your vital interests in the hands of someone easily steamrolled.
At the same time, had Biden tried to assert himself more forcefully, he would have risked looking out of control of his emotions, as senile people often are. Trump had him either way.
And, as always, Trump was relentlessly entertaining. That's a second important factor: politics is entertainment, especially in this era, and Trump understands that. Do the unexpected: keep them watching this reality TV series.
Trump is a brilliant communicator, and he knows his business.