OK, it's 2 am, I just got in after a long drive in torrential rain so don't hold me to anything I write here. If needed, I will deny ever stating any of it.
Went to Raleigh and with two of my sons watched the first presidential debate.
General observation: the organization of the debates does not fit the bill. Instead of holding the candidates to some arbitrary six sections of topics, controlled by a moderator, often biased or inept, let them debate. Have them ask each other questions! Have them give each other answers! DEBATE!
I will vote for Trump, as will the Diplowife and the Diplosons. I don't think this debate will have changed anybody's mind. If you favored Trump before, you most likely still do. If you favored Biden before, you most likely still do. In that regard the debate proved a draw but . . . a draw in long-run games such as world chess championships or the Tour de France can prove part of a strategy for winning, well, in the long-run. Maybe.
Very briefly: each contestant played his version of hard-ball. Trump clearly came off as the more aggressive and energetic; critics would say he came off as a bully--I'll come back to that. Biden generally held up well, and aided by the moderator, Chris Wallace, on occasion managed to get Trump a bit flustered. Both interrupted one another, and Biden even engaged in outright name-calling, to wit, calling Trump a "clown" and a "liar," and telling him to shut-up. These guys obviously don't like each other.
Trump did not give as strong a defense of his naming a SCOTUS justice in an election year as he could have. He started saying, in essence, he would because he could: he has the White House and the Senate, and the other side would do the same if the situation allowed it. Realpolitic, and all that. Fair enough, but not very "principled," I guess, for want of a better word at 2 am. Toward the end of his statement, he concluded how he should have started: the President has a four-year term, not a three-year term, and the Constitutional responsibility and power to nominate a Justice for consideration by the Senate does not end in the last year. Precedents exists in our history for such nominations in an election year.
I found Trump's defense of his COVID policy a bit confusing and not as strong as it should have proven. He, after all, has done what the "scientists" said, and even imposed a ban on travel to and from China before they said he should--certainly well before Biden came around to that position. He needs a much leaner, cleaner explanation and defense. Biden, for his part, still can't say what he would have done differently and of what his "plan" consists. Come on Joe, save our lives, reveal your plan! End the mystery.
Biden, who looked old and waxen, did not deal well with the story of his son Hunter's blatant corruption. It just doesn't cut it to keep repeating that the stories of Hunter's corruption and financial links to China, Russia, and Ukraine have been "debunked." Uh, no they haven't, Joe, no they haven't. Hunter's a drug-addled crook whom you aided via the vice presidency in getting rich.
The tax issue? Meh. If you actually read the NYT story--a gruesome endeavor which I undertook--it does not state what the headlines claim. Trump, in fact, paid millions in taxes; the infamous and much-ballyhooed $750 was in addition to the millions he already had paid in estimated taxes. Trump fumbled a bit with this, but I don't think it hurt him much.
Biden proved totally inept on the issue of law-and-order, and made an absurd statement/lie about Antifa not comprising an organization but an idea. He also got caught by Trump's demand to know what law enforcement groups had endorsed Biden. Couldn't do it. He needs to prep better on that issue.
The Trump as bully meme? Don't know; don't care. Let me state, however, that I don't want as my president some timid clerk-type afraid of his own shadow and unable to take on real bullies such as Putin and Xi.
I don't want to go on too much longer. Let me note that Trump seemed playing the long game by getting Biden, in essence, to disavow his own party's platform. Biden would not endorse nor condemn calls to pack the SCOTUS. Even more startling, he dumped the Green New Deal to Trump's shout, "You just lost the radical left!" In any regular election that would prove a crucial development.
The problem, however, that Trump faces--as do all who love America--is that the left knows that Biden is not a real candidate, but rather a delusional Walter Mitty. It doesn't matter what he says, including his boast that "I am the Democrat Party!" No, no, you are not. You are just chaff thrown out to confuse the radar and let the real bombers get in. You, sir, won't be the real President even if elected.