Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
There was a low bar for Joe Biden in the first debate, given his cognitive challenges. Because he exceeded that pessimism, he won momentum.
In opposite fashion, there was similarly an expectation that a disruptive Donald Trump would turn off the audience by the sort of interruptions and bullying that characterized the first debate.
He did not do that. He instead let a cocky Biden sound off, and thus more or less tie himself into knots on a host of topics, but most critically on gas and oil. So likewise Trump will gain momentum by exceeding those prognoses.
But far more importantly, the back-and-forth repartee will not matter other than Trump went toe to toe, but in a tough, dignified manner and beat Biden on points. Biden did not go blank — although he seemed to come close, often especially in the last 20 minutes. Had the debate gone another 30 minutes, his occasional lapses could have become chronic.