There’s reems and reems of post-debate commentary so I’ll just add a couple of cents rather than regurgitate what anybody can find anywhere.
These debates are about vetting the candidates and some of it is has become silly on its face, but essential. It’s about preparation, study, learning the lessons of past debate successes and failures as well as actually knowing policy and facts. History shows candidates get tripped up on various things, a lack of knowledge or inability to be articulate, misstatements that show lack of mastery of facts and the physical and temperamental failings of looking bored or dismissive when you’re not talking. You’re always on camera and body language counts as much as rhetoric.
What Donald Trump showed, again, is that he disdains preparation. He doesn’t care about the lessons of the past because he’s above them. Whether it’s misstating facts and then stupidly trying to fact check the fact check (he did that at the Commander-in-Chief forum too and failed), lying about well debunked facts, or slumping, sniffing, grimacing and interrupting. If Hillary had done any of that she would have been destroyed. He did it all, proving that he believes he’s above it all! He’s above paying taxes, above truth, above learning!
Trump hardly ever answered a question, certainly not directly. Even the yes or no questions like “would you support the winner” he’d go on for paragraphs and then only at end did he say “yes.” How would you create jobs? No answer. We’re losing jobs, losing them badly, bad trade deals. He’d rip them up. Not an answer. You can’t just rip up trade deals and treaties. What specifically would you do on anything? No specifics, ever. Just generalities and often counterfactual ones at that. Ford is not taking jobs to Mexico, Michigan is not bleeding jobs, the Chinese are no longer devaluing their currency, they’re propping it up, etc.
He was nonsensical often when he was trying to be serious: Tearing up trade deals, making other countries pay for their defense (like some Mafia protection racket), his father gave him a small loan of $14 million bucks! You don’t learn anything from tax returns. Clinton should have fixed everything for 30 years, but she didn’t, she’s responsible for everything wrong. He even claimed his web site would also be fact checking when it wasn’t and that Hillary was fighting Isis her whole adult life (um, what?).
And then other times his comments were just bizarre and unfocused when he was vamping. Mentioning 400 pound hackers, his son’s amazing ability on computers, Rosie O’Donnell deserved to be called names, another attack on a judge, calling out her stamina when she ran rings around him looked and much fresher than he did.
If this was a boxing match he landed a few, but she knocked him down several times and he swung so wildly that he punched himself often. To an extent she rope-a-doped him and could have done more. He proved that he’ll take the bait every time on his record as a businessman, his taxes, his comments on women, birtherism, etc.
A great deal to build upon for the next debate.