Not so much. More like a schoolyard brawl.
The leftist media saw a big Hillary win. Online polls (admittedly unscientific) had Trump winning, some by a lot. More thoughtful pundits saw a tie or Hillary by a nose. The first 30 minutes were carried by Trump when he hit Hillary on trade and the economy. The next 30 minutes went to Hillary when Trump got hit on taxes and birtherism. The last 30 minutes were probably a tie. The questioning was clearly skewed against Trump. One wonders if the Clinton mafia didn’t threaten Lester Holt and NBC in advance especially after the Matt Laurer kerfuffle. While Trump got hit with tough questions on the above, Clinton faced not one question on Benghazi, her email server, the Clinton Foundation or her “deplorables” comment. NOT ONE! This may ultimately backfire against her and the left-wing media as it plays into the idea (truth) that most media is in the tank for Clinton. Trust in media is at an all-time low and voters may recoil against obviously biased questioning.
For both candidates it was probably a mixed bag. Trump was good on trade and the economy, looked Presidential at times, was genuine and proved that he could handle the big stage with Clinton (pre-debate whisper by the left was that he would get blown away). On the flip-side, he interrupted too often, did appear miffed at times and got into the trees too often on insignificant things (taxes, birtherism). He has to comment quickly and move on or redirect. On his personal taxes all he has to say is “I have been audited every year of my adult life. I have always complied with the law and my lawyers advise me to withhold releasing my taxes until the audit is complete. Why is that so hard? As a consequence he was way too defensive during the last hour. Clinton kept her cool and often stayed on message. However, she looked flummoxed at times, especially on trade and really had nothing new to offer. She played small-ball: green energy, stop-and-frisk, Trump not paying a contractor or two and insulting a few women…really? That’s the best you got? She also looked scripted, phony and smug compared to the “genuine” Trump, and her nasty attack at the end regarding Trump’s “misogyny” may be seen as overly negative.
My takeaway is that Trump missed an opportunity to deliver a knockout blow. Although Lester Holt treated her with kid gloves, Trump had the opportunity to hit her where she is vulnerable. When she brought up “conflicts of interest”, I think during the personal tax discussion, the door was wide open for Trump to say “The Clinton Foundation is a walking conflict of interest” and then lay out a specific or two. When she criticized Trump for not paying contactors, he should have said “much of my support is from the working class, people you call Deplorables”. When she attacked on his women comments, he should have countered ” Hillary Clinton is a walking war on women” and then outlined all of the women she has tried to destroy. I can’t believe that he was not quicker on the counter-punch. He had huge openings and didn’t take them.
My advice to Trump for next debate: keep cool, don’t be defensive, answer and redirect. Look for every opportunity to attack Clinton on her email server, Benghazi, her honesty, the Clinton Foundation, her “Deplorables”, attacks on women, ect.
Final exit comment: I find it comical that media “fact-checkers” found Clinton more truthful. Several had her near perfectly honest or truthful. That struck me as odd. Thinking back over the debate, it seemed like they were about equal in telling things factually correct and honest or telling mistruths. I then went back and quickly found four obvious instances where Clinton lied or was incorrect. This just proves that even the media truth police are corrupt. Best to ignore them.