One candidate prevailed

There are two major-party candidates for president of the United States. Any undecided voter (yes, they still exist) who watched the first presidential debate on Monday could plainly see that only one of them came prepared.

Hillary Clinton showed the expertise and judgment that she has displayed – with notable exceptions – for more than four decades. She generally responded to the questions asked with arguments that were logical and coherent.

Such a performance should be routine in a presidential debate. But this is not a normal election.

In Monday night’s debate, as in other matters, Donald Trump showed he has no interest in the usual way of doing things. With rambling and often factually incorrect responses, dozens of interruptions of his opponent and the moderator, and an alarmingly loose grasp of public policy, he turned the debate into a demolition derby of reason.

A debate is a high-pressure experience. But so is the presidency. If Trump cannot prepare for a 90-minute exchange – and show some competence, coherence and decorum – it’s hard to see how he can rise to the complex tasks of running the most powerful nation on Earth.