The town halls weren't a debate — but Trump still won

In a recent poll by the conservative American Principles Project, voters in a number of states were asked whether children under the age of 18 should be able to undergo chemical or surgical sexual reassignment procedures; the response in Arizona (75 percent), Georgia (81 percent), Iowa (77 percent), Kentucky (84 percent), Michigan (79 percent), Montana (75 percent), North Carolina (84 percent), Pennsylvania (78 percent), Texas (81 percent), Wisconsin (77 percent) was overwhelmingly negative. Biden’s assertion about prepubescent minors should but probably will not be the focal point of an eight-figure advertising campaign in every Midwestern swing state.

Which of the men had a better evening? Television ratings are only preliminary, but it seems a pretty safe bet that Trump had the larger audience. Does this make him the winner? I think the answer is yes, and not just because viewership statistics are a longtime obsession of his. Four years later, we are still debating the reasons for his victory in 2016, but the simplest explanation is that his opponent agreed to make the election about him.

He still enjoys this advantage.