Defying all predictions, it was Biden, not Trump, who leveled most of the insults (“clown,’’ “Will you shut up, man”). Trump was on the defensive much of the night, interrupting his opponent and the moderator, but I doubt it will translate as “strength” to all but hard-core supporters. Biden rarely lost his cool, though his answers sometimes lacked crispness, such as on the Supreme Court. Trump’s dismissal of climate change in the Western fires will offend younger voters. Trump’s railing about having been “spied on” by the Obama White House and his claim to have them all “on tape” may remind older viewers of Humphry Bogart in “The Caine Mutiny.’’
Over all, I don’t see Trump winning over any undecideds or shifting the course of a race in which polls show him trailing.