If you thought that Donald Trump’s semi-coherent performance in the second debate would lead our ever-fickle pundits to proclaim him the Comeback Id, you were wrong—sort of.

Yes, he won some grudging plaudits for coming across as slightly less unhinged than he’d been in the first debate. Overall, though, the morning-after commentary suggests that virtually everyone this side of Breitbart saw the St. Louis encounter as merely another stop on the way to an overwhelming defeat.

Republican insiders from swing states tell Politico that Trump did just well enough to stay in the race. That follows a devastating weekend in which scores of Republican officials withdrew their support and urged Trump to drop out. Trump held on, but it was ugly to watch.

“Trump didn’t have a psychotic break onstage,” writes conservative Trump critic Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard. “And clearing that bar might be enough to keep Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, and Reince Priebus from publicly disavowing his candidacy this week. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what a win looks like for Trump these days.”

With that, here are three quick media takeaways.

1. Trump may be running for something other than president. Following the Washington Post’sdevastating revelation of a 2005 tape in which Trump obscenely joked about sexual assault (for the record, he said during the debate that he didn’t actually engage in such behavior), much of the Republican establishment deserted him.

Thus he may now be looking past the election and positioning himself for whatever comes next. As Taegan Goddard writes at Political Wire:

From the pre-debate spectacle with women who accused Bill Clinton of various sex crimes to saying he would put Hillary Clinton in jail after he wins, it’s obvious that Trump no longer cares to be a mainstream Republican. He treated this like a debate at the Conservative Political Action Conference, not a general election campaign for president of the United States.

This debate should be seen as Trump’s official divorce from the Republican party.

So what now? Ever since former Fox News chief Roger Ailes and Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon came aboard the listing ship, speculators have been speculating that Trump is planning to launch a right-wing media venture. The 40 percent of the electorate who will likely support Trump no matter what is not nearly enough to win the presidency. But it’s a huge base with which to start a competitor to Fox News.

2. Trump really does embrace authoritarian thuggery. This is not news. But Trump’s menacing threat to lock up Clinton over her email scandal even though she’s long since been cleared of criminal wrongdoing underscored his deep disregard for the rule of law.

“This—threatening to jail one’s political opponents—is how democratic norms die,” writes Zack Beauchamp of Vox. Adds Jamelle Bouelle of Slate: “Trump was cornered, and he responded with a burst of banana-republic machismo, vowing to investigate and prosecute a political opponent using the powers of his office. It was a remarkable moment: a presidential nominee promising to rip up the foundations of liberal democracy for the sake of getting off a good attack line.”

3. Mike Pence is off the bus, if not off the ticket. A number of news reports, including this one by Nicole Gaouette of CNN.com, took note of Trump’s statement that not only did he disagree with his running mate on Syria but that they hadn’t even talked about the issue.

During the debate some media chatter broke out on Twitter to the effect that Pence would quit the ticket today. Pence momentarily put a stop to it with this:

Congrats to my running mate @realDonaldTrump on a big debate win! Proud to stand with you as we #MAGA.— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 10, 2016

But stay tuned. Because now NJ Advance Media is reporting that Pence has canceled a fundraiser in New Jersey that had been scheduled for today. I don’t see how Pence could bail on a campaign event if he’s still on board.

As I’ve said before, we shouldn’t lose sight of how bizarre and disturbing all of this is. Trump’s pre-debate news conference with women who say they were abused by Bill Clinton—and his invitation for them to sit in the front row during the debate—was a dark, twisted moment. Bill Clinton, after all, is not running for president. (Another Trump invitee, Kathy Shelton, was raped when she was 12 by a man whose court-appointed attorney was Hillary Clinton. Snopes has a good overview of that convoluted case.)

According to a CNN/ORC instant poll, viewers thought Clinton won the debate by a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent—down only a little from the first debate, which Clinton won by 62 percent to 27 percent. For reasons that are not readily apparent, the CNN/ORC sample skews Democratic (36 percent to 27 percent Republican), but it doesn’t likely matter: 91 percent of Democrats thought Clinton won on Sunday, whereas just 68 percent of Republicans thought Trump won. Worse for Trump, Clinton carried independents by 49 percent to 39 percent.

We’ve got four weeks to go, with the strong possibility that we’ll have to ponder more Trump tapes and (thanks to WikiLeaks) Clinton transcripts. The past year and a half has been a singularly unedifying experience. But at least it will soon be over.