Trump’s aggressive and disconcerting style allowed him to triumph over his opponents in the primaries, but showed his limits against Hillary.

“You cannot win an election through debates, but you can lose them,” said someone close to Donald Trump. He could not have said it better. His candidate may not have definitely lost after the first of three debates that must convince the hesitant American voters of the best choice for their country on Tuesday Nov. 8, but he has at least been weakened. The polls of the next few days should confirm that the run-up this rather atypical Republican candidate has been benefiting from this past month, up to practically being head-to-head with Hillary Clinton on the eve of their face-to-face exchange, has been brutally stopped.

It is not that Trump was ridiculous, as some political augurs foresaw while fearing that his outrageousness would unsettle his Democrat opponent. He even unquestionably scored some points in the first 20 minutes of their confrontation. Indeed, while talking about the economy, although he has not given many details about his program, his argument that America should not be able to allow jobs to leave the country anymore because it is too indulgent and that America must protect its economy has certainly hit the bull’s eye among the U.S. middle class (among whom are people far from enjoying the relative improvement of the Obama years and who have never recovered from the subprime crisis of 2008). And if he’s evaded the battle over numbers when Clinton wanted to drag him, he did not hesitate to focus on the argument that “we've become a third world country” by using the example of the wealth of the airports in some of the Gulf countries and the state of dilapidation of LaGuardia or JFK airports in New York. “Our airports are like from a third world country,” Trump said.

Hillary Knows Her Information in Every Detail

But this outrageousness is precisely what worked so well when, during the primaries, Trump faced off against Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz who showed their limits during the primary debates and when Trump found himself, for the first time, “in the big leagues.” In facing off against Clinton, who is strong when it comes to knowing the subject, who knows her information in detail, who quotes figures, statistics, reports, laws, treaties, points of law, without ever making a mistake, and sometimes does so at the risk of boring her audience, this unusual candidate has suddenly appeared very little prepared for the job he seeks.

Trump has shown that he doesn’t know much about relations between communities, about the violence in the cities, the terrorist risks, the fight against the Islamic State, the treaty concluded with Iran or the solidarity with other NATO countries, and most of all, he has shown that he isn’t very confident. The person who, since he started in politics a little more than a year ago, has proved he can sell his entrepreneurial experience so well on television and during rallies, has shown that his failure to know the facts is his only true baggage. And in a debate, like the one at Hofstra University, his only defense was to criticize his opponent for having been in business for the last 30 years. “With you, we lose on everything,” he hammered repeatedly, whether it was about business, debt, cyberattacks, Iraq, or the Islamic State group threat. He criticized Clinton to the point where Clinton, whom he accused of “having been fighting ISIS her entire adult life” questioned whether she was responsible for all that happened in the world these last 30 years.

This exchange sums up quite well the extent of their differences. Irritated by the avalanche of precision Clinton brought to their discussion, Trump accused her of being too well prepared for their debate while he was “going out there to meet the U.S. citizens.”

“And you know what else I prepared for?” she asked with a defiant look, “I prepared to be president.” Enough said.