In no particular order. Here we go:
1. This probably didn’t sway any partisans’ opinions. To Trumpists, Clinton was probably fake, hectoring, and shrill, while Trump hit the regular high notes they’ve come to expect. To Clinton supporters, Trump was a disaster.
2. Having said #1, this debate hurt Trump. BIGLY. First, any Democrats/leaners on the fence were scared shitless by Trump–when they didn’t think he was being a mansplaining asshole (I’m a straight guy and Trump reminded me of an ex-husband). Second, ‘Team Clinton’ needed a victory of sorts and they got one. Will this move polls? Not very BIGLY, but it will bring Democrats back home.
3. Donald Trump has the sniffles. He should probably see a neurologist.
4. Final theater criticism point: I’m still amazed that Clinton has so little stage presence. It makes you realize the importance of an arts curriculum in school. Before you say this doesn’t matter, that’s sort of like saying that you’re a really good extramural PI researcher, except that you can’t write grants very well. That’s a huge part of the job (a BIGLY part, if you will…). It is a problem.
5. Donald Trump was a disaster. Incredibly rude and pushy. Leaving aside his BIGLY temperament, he was ridiculously unprepared. I was embarrassed to watch. He really thought he could just bullshit his way through the debate in front of 100 million people. Whatever one thinks about Clinton’s style, this was like watching someone pick on the slow kid. After thirty minutes, they should have created a mercy rule and just called it.
5a. Gish Gallop? Nope. Gish Warp Drive.
6. On the policy front, one bad point for Clinton: when pressed, she reverted to New Democrat, balanced budget form. Doesn’t bode well after Nov. 8…
7. On the policy front, Clinton did well with both the notion of structural racism and for-profit prisons. Overall, she did explain her policies well.
8. Regarding Trump policies, other than regurgitating his campaign speeches, he was too incoherent to make any sense.
9. The debate probably won’t have much effect, but it’s close enough that this might matter. Again, the key take home is that this debate probably encouraged Clinton’s supporters and consolidated some Clinton leaners.