Well, if that was a skull-splitting disaster for American democracy, it was even worse for Democrats. In the immediate aftermath, it’s even questionable if Joe Biden is still in the race by the time I finish writing this response. Maybe even by the time I put the full stop at the end of this sentence.

The talk before the debate was about how the format had been tweaked to suppress Trump’s bad behaviour. The moderators had the power to mute the microphones of both candidates. Some thought it might do Trump a favour, enabling him to present a version of himself in better control of his temperament than is the reality. None of that was needed. Trump didn’t need to be disruptive. His opponent was imploding.