The real winner of tonight's Trump-Biden debate is everyone who's glad there's no more debates. Which definitely includes me.
Sure, I enjoy debates. But I'm ready for the election. This debate marks the beginning of the home stretch toward November 3. I'm eager for that day to come, especially if, as I both suspect and hope, Biden defeats Trump.
Nothing I saw tonight changes my opinion about Biden being the clear favorite to become the next president. Currently FiveThirtyEight places the odds of this happening at 87%.
It's hard to see how Trump's non-disastrous performance in this second debate, a step up from the Trump disaster of the first debate, changes the race in any meaningful way. Here's the FiveThirtyEight live blog headlines from various staffers. These nicely encapsulate the tenor of the evening.
But most of us have both the will and the ability to adjust how we come across to the needs of an occasion. For example, we might appear wild and crazy at a freewheeling party, yet calm and restrained in a job interview.
Trump, on the other hand, is incapable of appearing honest, coherent, empathetic, and caring. He simply lacks the capacity to rise above his habitual personality, which is decidedly unappealing to anyone who isn't a fervent Trump devotee.
Naturally Trump lied almost constantly tonight. The New York Times fact-checked the debate. Trump got many more facts checked, probably because he gets facts wrong so often. Here's how Trump and Biden did on the NYT fact-checks.
False - 15
Misleading - 13
Exaggerated - 3
Lacks evidence - 2
Partly true - 1
Mostly true - 1
True - 1
False - 1
True - 2
Well, damn! Out of 36 statements that were fact-checked, Trump got one that was true. Looks like the Liar-in-Chief needs to work harder.
The pandemic was the first debate topic. This also is the topic most on the minds of Americans, since it has been an ever-present backdrop to all of our lives for about eight months.
Once again, Trump wrongly claimed that the United States is turning the corner on COVID-19. Well, that's sort of true. As shown in this chart from today's Washington Post, covid cases have indeed turned the corner -- but in the wrong direction.