The bottom line is that during the second presidential debate, Donald Trump managed to live to fight another day. He made the public apology for the sex talk tape that everyone expected, and he seemed sincere. But then he pivoted to the necessity of fighting ISIS, taking a leaf from Mike Pence’s book, and then hit both Hillary Clinton and the moderator on the email server scandal. Trump made news by promising to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton and, if possible, put her in jail. The promise was the applauds line of the night and was, in the history of politics, unprecedented.
Trump also went there and referred to both Hillary and Bill Clinton’s evil done to women.
He did some battlefield preparation by holding a press conference with Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey who claim to have been assaulted by Bill Clinton and then intimidated by Hillary Clinton. Also, Kathy Shelton, who was raped at 12 and then smeared by Hillary when she was the defense lawyer for his rapist, was present. All four women were seated in the audience at the debate, something that was of great discomfort to Bill Clinton, who was also present.
Trump was strong on several issues, including Obamacare, taxes, and the Supreme Court. He was far less strong when he seemed to side with Assad and Putin in the current civil war in Syria.
Hillary Clinton had a remarkably weak performance, clearly nervous and taken aback when Trump landed some strong blows on her record and character. She struck back as hard as she could on Trump, a target rich environment, but with far less effect.
Clinton had the biggest unintentional laugh lines when she tried to explain how she told Wall Street bankers why she takes different positions in private than she does in public.
She compared herself to Abraham Lincoln, as least as depicted in the famous Spielberg movie. Trump brought the house down when he said that she was a bit different from Honest Abe.
On balance, Trump won the night by exceeding the expectations, which were rock bottom going in. Clinton failed to put him away, which means that the campaign goes on. Trump will not be replaced on the ticket and still has a chance to win the presidency. Who would have thought it?