Trump won this debate by not winning it; where the “right” thing to do was play the game, he spoke to his audience instead and in doing so, made Clinton look like an artifact of the game itself. In fact, despite her lack of major health issues for ninety minutes, she came across looking old and ill from her stance toward the debate more than her physical appearance.
In this election, Trump has said consistently, the false elites are pitted against the American people, or at least the remaining ones with a claim to sanity. The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed us instead that this election is a question of ideology versus practicality.
Clinton speaks about what we should do, and how much money we should give away, where Trump points out that we are bankrupt, corrupt, with rotted infrastructure and failing military. He shows us a way around the tired dogma of egalitarianism that Libertarians should envy: a return to sheer practicality and self-interest.
What gave Trump the lead was his demeanor and approach. He came across as a man bursting with emotion, energy and ideas, where Clinton recited the correct buzzwords and acted out the right script for the press, saying very little to the most substantive questions. Her attitude had the “we can handle this” vibe that is familiar from every high school principle, middle manager and press secretary, implying an odious concealment of the actual issues.
The friendly moderator also hurt Clinton, since it was hard to notice the bias in favor of her answers and the people who cheered for her in the crowd (despite promises that this would not happen). Her demeanor killed it though — or maybe her “temperament” — since she came across as the girl Class President who knows the right thing to say but is useless in the real world.
Trump could have done better, technically. He could have thrown out a line addressing the specific question in some parts, he rambled a bit, and he fell back into his own character too much, talking about how he built his companies and made deals. But through it all, he made the point that won the debate for him.
With Clinton, he says, you will get More Of The Same (MOTS). That means people who are experts at working the system but unaware of how to make real-world situations turn out well. We could group Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Tony Blaire into this same group.
Trump offers instead Make America Great Again (MAGA) which is a forward-looking, results-based approach. He does not want to engage in political behavior and virtue signaling to give everyone ideological warm fuzzies; he wants to make deals and build things, proving himself through results which as a dealmaker is the only way he conceives of personal victory.
The United States has been in a bad condition for 150 years, patched along by the periodic Reagans and Trumps who undo the silliness caused by the pretense of the voters. With the election of Barack Obama it was clear that it faces a threat to its survival brought on by demographic change.
While Trump may not be perfect, he is an early step toward a conservative direction which, if it can avoid starting disastrous wars as the Left will try to provoke it to do, can then successively demonstrate viability of its plans and implement them at increasing levels. That is the spirit that won Trump the debate and may give him the Presidency.