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Douglas Andrews / Oct. 23, 2020

Donald Trump Won the Final Debate. Here's How.

The president did what he had to do, and then some.

If you’re one of those suburban moms who President Donald Trump has been scaring away with his bombast, his boorish behavior, and his bullying of poor Joe Biden, you saw a completely different candidate last night. And you just might have begun to reconsider your vote for his opponent, “the typical politician.”

And if you’re Donald Trump, you did exactly what you needed to do, if we do say so ourselves.

Yeah, the president may have missed an opportunity to land memorable zingers here or there. He failed to mention the crack-addled sex tapes and child pornography allegedly on Hunter Biden’s laptop, or that the information on that laptop is part of an FBI money-laundering investigation. Nor did he shine a bright light on emerging irrefutable evidence of Joe Biden’s corruption.

But if he’s looking for more votes from that massive electoral trove of suburban women, his performance was spot-on.

Throughout the night, Biden preached pessimism and “a dark winter.” Trump, on the other hand, offered real and Reaganesque optimism, especially concerning Covid-19.

Oh, and he probably won Pennsylvania last night. Biden’s amateurish remark about “transitioning” from our oil and gas economy, and his say-anything-to-get-elected doublespeak about the crucial issue of fracking, will certainly move voters in the Keystone State. His handlers knew it, too, and they rushed to clean up his mess immediately afterward. He let the mask slip, though, and the only question now is whether the administration’s voting-integrity efforts can keep the fraudulent Philly vote to a less-than-decisive number.

As John Hinderaker notes, “[Last night’s] debate went well for President Trump, I thought. The moderator was pro-Biden; she didn’t ask him any hard questions and avoided the subjects where he is most vulnerable. But that was a given. She was considerably better than Chris Wallace, and better than most. Unlike the first debate, President Trump stayed calm and in control. His answers were generally sharp and he got in plenty of shots against Joe Biden.”

One of those repeated shots the president took was at the lifelong ineffectiveness of his opponent. “Joe, I ran because of you,” he said. “I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would have never run.” Sticking with this theme of Biden’s all-hat-no-cattle career in Washington, Trump said, “You were the vice president. You keep talking about all these things you’re going to do, and you’re going to do this. But you were there just a short time ago, and you guys did nothing.”

After one attempt by Biden to change the subject by looking into the camera and invoking the kitchen table, the president pounced. “That’s the typical political statement,” he said. “‘Let’s get off this China thing.’ And then he looks, ‘The family, around the table.’ … Just a typical politician. … I’m not a typical politician. That’s why I got elected.”

Trump also persevered through a thicket of steady interruptions by moderator Kirsten Welker. Every time the president began to draw blood, it seemed, Welker would interrupt him to save Biden’s bacon. Post-debate analysis had the count somewhere around 30 interruptions of the president compared to just two — two — interruptions of Biden.

Nevertheless, during the pressure-cooker of this final debate, President Trump even had the wits and the wherewithal to pause and send a compliment Welker’s way: “By the way,” he said, “so far I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say.” It’s hard to know how many thousands of votes that single thoughtful sentence was worth, or how much it meant to Welker. But notice, too, how two tiny words within that compliment worked the ref ever so subtly: “so far.”

There’ll be plenty of fact-checking today and over the weekend, and plenty of it will be directed at Biden, who lies as easily as a dog licks its, er, paws.

As National Review’s Kyle Smith writes, “Joe Biden is a career liar and he lied some more in the debate, for instance when he dismissed the now well-supported New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s business dealing as ‘a Russian plant.’ There is zero evidence for this. … Biden’s lie about fracking — ‘I never said I opposed fracking’ — was so egregious that even CNN’s Daniel Dale mentioned it in his after-action report.”

When CNN calls out its guy for lying just 12 days before an election, it must’ve been a whopper with cheese. And it was.

Biden also looked straight into the eyes of the American people and said, “Character is on the ballot.” He may well come to regret that bit of bravado.

Conservative pollster Frank Luntz called last night’s debate “a tie,” but he wasn’t paying attention to his own focus group. The words they used to describe Donald Trump? Controlled, reserved, poised, con artist, and surprisingly presidential. And the words they used to describe Joe Biden? Vague, unspecific, elusive, defensive, and grandfatherly.

President Trump won last night’s debate. No doubt. You could tell just by looking at the giddy grins on Fox News and the dour demeanors on CNN. The question is, Which of these two candidates is best equipped to run through the finish line?

As The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti notes, “Trump adviser Jason Miller mentioned on Twitter that Trump’s underdog victory in 2016 began with a good performance at that year’s third presidential debate. The Trump campaign hopes 2020 will turn out to be a replay of 2016: a last-minute scandal dogging the Democratic nominee, a disciplined Trump criss-crossing the nation on behalf of the forgotten man, and an unexpected Electoral College win.”

“Unexpected”? We’re not so sure it’ll be unexpected.


Finally, a few additional Biden “cleanups” from our Mark Alexander: On separation of children from their parents? Fact is, most of the parents of these children (anyone under 18) have been identified and do not want to be repatriated with their children in their home countries. Also, many children detained at our border were rescued from human sex traffickers.

As for Biden and his leftist backers’ advocacy for open borders, Alexander adds that this would flood our country with immigrants and overwhelm our taxpayer-funded public services. Those immigrants would also put enormous downward pressure on wages and displace millions of American jobs – many held by those people Democrats ostensibly say they represent.

Regarding the crime bills that Joe Biden championed but now regrets, Alexander observes that those bills received overwhelming bipartisan support – including overwhelming Congressional Black Caucus support – because they helped reduce violent crime in urban centers. And now Biden says nobody should go to jail for drug offenses? If we want to understand the dangers of drug abuse and the ineffectiveness of rehab, we need look no further than Hunter Biden. And if we eliminate penalties for drug dealers, what about opioid dealers, whose drugs killed nearly 140,000 Americans in 2018 and 2019?

(Updated.)

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