First, he went into full throat denial that he lost using non-probability viewer response polls. Also, he picked up on one of the least salient debate points concerning a beauty contestant winner and turned it into an ethnic-identity talking point for Clinton. The diversion reinforced for the mainstream media commentariat that Trump simply does not have the discipline to run a national campaign nor temperament to occupy the Oval Office.
Trump entered the debate with momentum in both national and battleground polls, but ended up wounded, and a week later, desperately in need of something to change the subject.
Trump never ceases to mention polls, which have often showed him to be a “winner,” but his clinging onto media marketing surveys in the face of ridicule shows that his dependence on the data is more a personal need than based on strategy.
It’s still a close race one week after the debate, but Clinton is back in a narrow lead. At some point soon, Trump runs out of time and voter interest in his effort to show discipline, preparation and temperament.