I did not see this coming. Did anybody? Trump won this thing fairly decisively, I thought. I expected him to spontaneously combust. He did not. The first 20 minutes or so were excruciating, with him flailing about his so-called “locker room talk,” and ripping into her about Bill Clinton’s sexual past.
(I tell you, though, for both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, to have their wives and children in the room when their disgusting behavior towards women is discussed on national TV — it’s unthinkable. Disgraces, both of them.)
Incredibly, though, Trump got much better after that, and hammered Hillary hard on e-mail, on Syria, on just about everything. She’s such a terrible candidate. This should have been the night she put Donald Trump away, and not only did she fail to do that, he actually bested her. Look, I’m not saying he was good; I’m saying that he did much better than she did. And because he was widely expected to blow himself up tonight, this is a win for him.
The TV talking heads seem to think his disagreeing with Mike Pence on Russia and Syria is a big gaffe, or something otherwise terrible. It’s not. Trump simply said he disagreed with his running mate. And I was glad to hear Trump say it.
But the real news is this: how on earth could Hillary Clinton have failed to deliver a knockout blow to Trump tonight? Honestly, I’m shaking my head. I guess she will have to depend on leaked audiotapes from Hollywood to carry her over the finish line. Trump’s performance tonight is going to make it harder for Republicans down the ballot and in the Washington elite to decide if they’re going to stick by him or not.
You know, I really think Donald Trump still has a chance — not much of one, but a chance — to win this thing. I did not expect to be saying that after this debate. Just one more damn surprise this crazy political year has brought us, like a house cat dropping bloody varmints at the foot of our beds.
I agree with this:
The Republicans get what they deserve: He did well enough that they’re definitely stuck with him.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) October 10, 2016 
And did you hear what Clinton’s foreign policy spokesman tweeted tonight? Patrick Deneen had the best riposte ever:
Yale or Georgetown grad? https://t.co/aazUZlWWGC 
— Patrick Deneen (@PatrickDeneen) October 10, 2016 
Your thoughts on the debate?
UPDATE: I’m glad a couple of readers brought this up: Trump’s promise to turn a special prosecutor loose on Hillary if he’s elected is revolting stuff. A Third World dictator move.
UPDATE.2: On second thought, he did say, “You’d be in jail.”