Debates are seldom clear cut as to winner/loser. In this case, I think the common wisdom that both camps are pretty firmly entrenched is correct and more true than at any time in my life.
Both parties are now working their asses off to get out the vote, and to turn whoever possible in their direction.
At least as important as the debate itself is what Joan Didion describes as the 'narrative' that the media assumes on the subject. This narrative can be extremely arbitrary. For example, Cokie Roberts, "And...with an intern!". Once the main narrative is established, it echoes about and becomes the 'truth'.
You can bet that these boys on either side, and the pundits, have at least some awareness of how this happens. And they will be on the air, and up on their web pages IMMEDIATELY with the pre-planned narrative they wish to see advanced as truth.
There will be a difference here between right and left simply because the right is more disciplined and regimented to stay on message. Thus their story will, all other things being equal, appear more coherent. Talking points will have been worked out and distributed before the debate is underway. Which is why they'll say the same or very nearly the same thing.
Talking points will have been worked out and distributed before the debate is underway. Which is why they'll say the same or very nearly the same thing.
sad, but apparently true. at least at present.