At least we know Trump wasn't lying when he said he didn't practice for the debate.
Based on the behavior of trained, professional journalists, I gather I'm not supposed to say what I really thought of the debate, but to cheer like a pom-pom girl for my candidate.
But the truth is, I -- along with my Trump-supporting friends -- thought it was a draw: Trump won the first half, and Hillary won the second half. Since most people stopped paying attention after the first 30 minutes, that's a win for Trump.
Hillary supporters, or "the media," had reason to be happy: She looked healthy! She probably could have kept reciting her snarky little talking points for another hour.
In fact, it was the best I've ever seen Hillary. She avoided that honking thing she does, smiled a lot -- a little too much, actually (maybe ease up on the pep pills next time) -- and, as the entire media has gleefully reported, she managed to "bait" Trump.
Note to the Trump campaign: While it may seem studly that Hillary's best performance versus Trump's worst ends in a draw, on Nov. 9, no one wants to say: We almost won -- and our guy didn't prepare!
The media's excitement over Hillary successfully "baiting" Trump is revealing -- of the media, of what this election is really about, and of what Trump needs to do now.
The definition of Trump "taking the bait" was getting him to talk about himself, not about issues. This from a media that claim to be aching for "policy specifics."
Hillary -- with assists from the moderator -- "baited" Trump on how rich he is, the loan from his father, a lawsuit in 1972, the birther claims, who he said what to about the Iraq War from 2001 to 2003, and so on.
For the media, their gal was winning whenever precious minutes of a 90-minute debate were spent rehashing allegations about Trump. Ha ha! We prevented Trump from talking about issues that matter to the American people! That was scored as a "win."
Nothing illustrates more clearly that this election is about the people versus the elites than the fact that the media run from Trump's issues like Dracula from the sun.
Trump wins whenever he talks about issues; he loses whenever he talks about himself.
Trump was winning when he talked about the heinous trade deals that have shipped jobs abroad and immiserated millions of Americans -- which Hillary supports. He was winning when he talked about bringing order and safety to black neighborhoods overrun with crime; Hillary's with the criminals. He was winning when he talked about rebuilding our inner cities, instead of saying, "Vote for me!" then, "See you in four years!" -- as Hillary does.
Unlike the media, ordinary people don't care about Trump's taxes or net worth or the things he said as an entertainer. Trump will be dead and gone in 30 years.
But whether America continues to exist or becomes some dystopian blend of Guatemala and Afghanistan will be determined by this election.
It's almost impossible not to correct a lie, especially about yourself, which is why Hillary and Lester Holt's "baiting" strategy was to make outrageous claims about Trump.
Hillary, for example, criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns, saying, "maybe ... he's paid nothing in federal taxes."
This is exactly what Sen. Harry Reid stated as hard fact about Romney in 2012 -- on the Senate floor, so he couldn't be sued. After the election was over, Reid was asked about this obvious falsehood. He laughed it off and said, "Romney didn't win, did he?"
This is the game they play.
Trump has got to learn to ignore it. The voters have. They don't care about his taxes. They want jobs, they want a wall and they'd like fewer Muslims showing up, collecting welfare, then killing Americans.
Trump doesn't have to do formal debate practice, standing at a podium, facing off against a shorty in a pantsuit. But he does need Pavlovian training to stop responding to irrelevancies.
This isn't about him! It's about a movement of the people to take back their government from an arrogant plutocracy.
From now until the next debate, every single person who works for Trump should personally insult him several times a day.
Good morning, sir -- your business is a total fraud.
Here are those trade stats you wanted -- oh and you lied about opposing the war in Iraq.
The Cincinnati airport needs a tail number -- why did you "fat-shame" that poor girl?
If he starts to respond, they should say, "No one cares, sir. Tell me how you're going to stop Mexican drugs from pouring across our border."
The proof that voters don't care about the personal attacks on Trump is that, even after his lazy and self-indulgent debate performance, he won nearly every online poll.
Evidently, the American people have sized up the candidates and decided they want Trump. But there's just one last formality: He needs to pass some minimum threshold, a basic job requirement -- like proving he has a driver's license.
Everybody agrees he's got the job. It's too late for Hillary to be sucking up to the hiring committee, reminding them, but I took driver's ed seven times -- yes, there were mistakes, but I was grilled for 11 hours about that vehicular homicide. Also, the Russians hacked my GPS.
Trump showed up at the debate with his driver's license. That's all anyone needed to see.