What America learned in St. Louis: Trump has nine lives

Anyone who counted Donald Trump out before the second presidential debate in St. Louis doesn’t know Trump. Sunday night they got a lesson. To put it simply, Trump owned the debate at Washington University. He was in command. He was in rare form. He crushed it.

Trump has nine lives. He’s like Freddie Kruger in “Nightmare on Elm Street.” You can’t kill him (I mean, politically, of course). You can’t stop him, or slow him, or beat him down. He just keeps popping back up. He is relentless!

Like Trump, I pride myself as always telling the raw truth. I’ve been a Trump supporter from the beginning -- literally. I wrote the case for Trump winning the election back in June 2015 (right here at Fox News Opinion) on the day he declared for president.

I’ll always be in Trump’s corner. But in the first debate, Trump was mediocre, low-energy, unprepared and played on defense most of the night. The polls reflected his lackluster performance.

Then came the release of Trump’s secretly recorded tape. It has been an unimaginable 48 hours since it was made public on Friday. Trump was counted out. Many GOP leaders demanded that Trump step down. Trump was expected by “political experts” to step down. Trump certainly lost all his credibility and support -- or so “the experts” thought.

In 48 hours Donald Trump went from a near-death experience, hanging by a thread, losing the support of almost every elected GOP politician, to “King of the Hill.”

I fielded dozens of gloating calls from my liberal friends -- they all believed Trump was finished. They were congratulating their candidate Hillary as if she had already won. This is what I call premature prognostication.

Trump was even abandoned by his own party. Many in the GOP leadership and establishment politicians turned against Trump in the past 48 hours. To them, Trump was over. History. An embarrassment. A short-term blip on the American political timeline.

They all misjudged. They disregarded the one rule all of us who know Trump understand -- Never count Trump out.

Trump lost none of his loyal base. The latest poll after the infamous tape (By POLITICO/Morning Consult) showed Trump didn’t lose any of his base.

Yes, he lost the establishment politicians, but not the people who love and support him. Perhaps they forgot, it’s the people who elect the president, not the Washington establishment.

Sunday night Trump was “the comeback kid.” He was strong, confident, high-energy, credible, prepared, colorful, and on the offensive most of the night against Hillary and the moderators.

He even pulled a page from Ronald Reagan’s book – Yes, Trump was funny.

What people remember from these debates is who was in control, who looked confident, who had one or two memorable lines. Trump won on all three counts.

When Hillary said she was glad people like Trump don’t run the country, Trump’s response was the line of the night: “That’s because you’d be in prison.”

When Hillary tried to compare herself to Abraham Lincoln to explain why she has both a public and private answer to each question, Trump subtly made the point that Hillary is no “Honest Abe.”

Trump’s promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary if he’s elected president was the memorable moment of the night.

Most importantly, Trump made the point throughout the night that we cannot trust Hillary’s judgment. Trump made it clear that whether it is ObamaCare, or jobs, or foreign policy, Hillary always talks big, but does nothing…  And when she actually does do something, she makes all the wrong decisions (See Libya, Syria, the Arab Spring).

Sunday night Trump shocked the political establishment, the liberal world, even the GOP establishment.

In 48 hours he went from a near-death experience, hanging by a thread, losing the support of almost every elected GOP politician, to “King of the Hill.”

By the way, Trump also proved on Sunday night that he’s the anti-Romney. Mitt Romney blew an election that was handed to him, wrapped in a bow. He performed best at the beginning, when it mattered least. He choked in the clutch, when it mattered most. He won the first presidential debate -- the one everyone has long forgotten by the last debate. He went all downhill after that.

Trump understands the importance of “the moment.” Trump was mediocre in the first debate. But he crushed it in the second debate, when he needed it most.

I'm betting his best performance yet will come in the third presidential debate in my hometown, Las Vegas. Vegas is where all showman come to shine!

Trump was counted out by everyone it seemed -- but me. Because I know Donald Trump. He is the guy you always bat in the cleanup position. He’s always best under pressure.

He always shines at the important moments in life. He hits home runs when they are most needed -- with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.

That’s why I believe Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States.