My immediate take on last night’s debate can be found here, but I wanted to add a couple of quick insights.
Moderator Chris Wallace is being uniformly praised for having “won” the debate. I agree that he asked substantive questions, and he did seem to control things (the candidates, the clock, and the crowd) more effectively than any of the previous moderators. However, he barely mentioned Clinton’s e-mails, and he certainly didn’t press her on her inability to identify confidential information—much less on the recent scandal regarding a possible quid pro quo.
These omissions are problematic for two reasons: (1) Wallace (more so than any of the past moderators) has the ability to ask challenging follow-up questions that cut through the spin and talking points that politicians typically use to parry such questions. (2) This was likely the last opportunity to force Clinton to confront such questions.
So where does that leave us? Trapped in a hypothetical game of political Twister if we want to envision a Trump win. First, it would require some sort of huge game-changing event or revelation. Second, we would have to convince ourselves that everything we think we know is wrong. We would have to presume that all the polls are wrong (flawed methodology).
These are beliefs that are usually only born out of desperation. When you’ve exhausted every realistic scenario for how your candidate can win, and once the math is gone, you turn to magic. Most of the time, these beliefs are delusional. But every so often, magic does happen.
But don’t bet on it. The smart money is on Clinton. Bigly. At this point, the odds that she wins by a landslide are greater than the odds that she loses by a whisker.