By all accounts (well accounts from vaguely sane people, even those who tend to vote Republican) Trump lost the first Presidential debate ….and then some! And how did Hilary win? By bringing up every bullshit lie and racist statement Trump has ever made, putting him on the defensive and then sitting back and letting him dig himself in an even deeper hole.
Will this effect the outcome of the election? Probably not. “Trump supporter” has entered our language as a means to describe a form of lunacy where “facts” are not just ignored but treated with as an act of extreme hostility. His supporters will perform Simone Biles like feats of mental gymnastics, to cling to their pre-conceived positions. He and his supporters have made the name of the magazine “Scientific American” sound like a contradiction in terms.
His supporters will claim they support him because Hilary lies, flip flops and is corrupt. Trump will lie and flip, flop while denying allegations of his connections to the mob all within the same sentence. Indeed the cult of Trump were soon on the internet rigging polls to suggest he won. Unfortunately they tried a little too hard. Trump quoted how he’d one a CBS post-debate poll, only to be told there was no such thing.
If the very rules of politics set by conservatives were applied to Trump, he would not only lose, but won’t even get his deposit back. But unfortunately they don’t. American elections are becoming a bit like the rule of the Targaryens in Game of Thrones. Every four years the gods flip a coin to see if we get someone good or a madman.
And the recent leaking of his tax returns, which show Trump took a nearly $1 billion loss which he’s been using to aggressively dodge tax ever since doesn’t exactly fit with his narrative of being a great businessman, or how he’ll look out for the little guy (the little guy in these bankruptcies got screwed) or that he’ll crack down on tax dodgers.
The next debate, a town hall format, may favour Trump more. It puts Hilary at a disadvantage as she has to talk to “people” and she doesn’t do “people” very well. She might get asked some awkward questions. However, the problem with the GOP is most of the issues with her that they should be taking up (e.g. her ties to Wall Street for example) they don’t. The likelihood is they’ll focus on things like her e-mails and Benghazi and she can easily pull herself out of those holes, as the truth is this were minor misdemeanour’s at worst….and Trump has done similar but far worse things in the past, as have past GOP presidents.
The real danger for Trump is in fact if any of the cult of Trump show up and start screaming about the wall (is he going to set up his own version of the night’s watch to guard the wall?) and Muslims, where’s Obama’s birth certificate and aren’t you great Mr Trump for raising all these issues (while Trump is starting to sweat and signalling security to get this person out of the room). This is exactly what happened to John McCain. He tried to play the moderate Republican, but every now and then he’d have to deal with some sort of insane outburst from a supporter (or Sarah Palin), which drove moderate voters towards Obama.
So this town hall format might work for Trump yes, or it could be total disaster, particularly if he loses his cool, or someone brings up his taxes.