Trump's openings to steal the election depend on the results being close, allowing him to contest the results. But even if the polls are as off as they were in 2016, the results won't be close at all.
I wouldn't say Biden won the debate because it suggests that he and Trump were playing the same game. That said, the Biden campaign won financially. During the last half hour of the debate and a half hour after that, Biden received $4 million in donations.
Four million dollars in 60 minutes -- not really for Biden, but in opposition to Trump. Because Trump made it clear: Trump isn't America's norm-shattering showman anymore. He is America's abusive father, America's violent boyfriend, America's ranting uncle.
Trump berated Chris Wallace and screamed down nearly Biden's every sentence, trying to blot out any statement of what is plainly obvious to all: Trump sabotaged the pandemic response by ignoring the crisis, is keeping his debt-drowned businesses afloat with billing taxpayers for using his facilities, is trying to destroy health care in a pandemic and has no other response to a health crisis.
Trump is clearly terrified of being accused of all of that, terrified by how voters want him gone, terrified that without the presidency, he's facing criminal charges in colluding with foreign powers, tax evasion, campaign finance violations, negligent homicide and bankruptcy.
His response is to try to short-circuit any confrontation through interruption. It's the behaviour of a man who is scared and losing and squandering his last chance to change the course of his campaign. To win, Trump needs to expand his pool of voters, but all he did was maintain his existing position which is 7 - 10 points behind his opponent.
I had wondered why Biden was so awkward and inept in his primary performances and why he has been so polished and capable on the digital campaign trail and in his speeches. I have an answer after the debate: Biden is not skilled in confrontation. He either collapses into incoherent rants (like when he yelled at an auto worker who accused him of planning to end gun ownership or at a college student who questioned his poor primary performance) -- or in restraining himself, he mounts an ineffective or unintelligible response.
Biden's gift is connecting with people. In his town hall, asked about gun control, Biden offered a triangulative answer saying that while he and his family own guns, they do not own assault weapons capable of mass shootings with high capacity clips and rapid fire designs for massacres. Speaking with a health care worker earning too little money to live on, Biden expressed grief and anger. "I am a Democratic candidate, but I will be an American president."
Biden does not have the Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren precision in inflicting verbal wounds. He couldn't put Trump in his place -- but Biden did succeed in presenting his own position, simply by turning to the camera and addressing the viewers. Asking them to think on how in their lives, they had likely lost someone to COVID-19. Telling them that this election was not about Biden's sons or Trump's children but about the viewers' own families and well-being especially during a pandemic. Trump proved incapable of talking to anyone other than his cult by way of yelling at Biden and Wallace.
Biden stepped back from going at Trump and went for speaking to the people and while he didn't trouce Trump, he gave the people reason to support him and they responded to the sum of $4 million in an hour.