IN the wee small hours of tomorrow morning, a momentous transfer of power will take place in the US. The country’s commander-in-chief, arguably the most powerful man in the world give or take a Chinese president, will be silenced. By a woman.

It is just for few minutes, it is being done to ensure the final televised debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden does not end up a shouting match like the first one, and it applies to both candidates.

But my the President is not keen. He has accused the journalist with her finger on the button, NBC News’s Kristen Welker, of being biased; and he is furious that the list of topics for debate does not include foreign affairs, which would allow him to quiz his opponent on the business dealings of his son, Hunter.

Yet this is one instance when the president may be protesting too much. Being muted could be one of the best things to happen to The Donald since he found a hairdresser who was king of the comb over. Just think how his presidency might have been different had someone thought of it earlier. Like every modern President his entourage includes an aide whose job it is to carry the nuclear football, via which war can be unleashed. Imagine if the aide had in his other hand a muting device to prevent verbal armageddons. No more gaffes. No more equating peaceful protesters with racist thugs. No musing about injecting bleach to tackle Covid-19. No more ramping up divisions within America and the world. Why, with a mute button deployed at the right time, Mr Trump could be cruising to victory on November 3.

READ MORE: Debate commission changes rules

The way he tells it, he is. Mr Trump is never happier than when appearing before his supporters at rallies. From North Carolina to Florida and Georgia, on to Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, he is campaigning like a man half his age, and this after being hospitalised with Covid-19. Just watching him could prompt a person to say, When Harry Met Sally-style, “I’ll have what he’s having.” Is it possible that Donald J Trump, 74, could be this election’s comeback kid?

If so it will be a fightback unparalleled in American history. Consider the factors against him. The Covid-19 catastrophe, more than 220,000 Americans dead, the virus on the rampage again and the country averaging 59,000 new cases a day. A tanking economy. Racial division and civil strife. A long and growing list of embarrassing revelations, the latest of which, courtesy of the New York Times, is his payment of $188,000 in taxes to China from 2013-15. Contrast this with the $750 he handed over to his own country in 2016-17, after becoming President.

With all that ranged against him, another candidate might try to exit office with as much grace as he could muster. But this man, this candidate, is not going quietly, if indeed he is going at all. It has been said of Mr Trump that he was genuinely shocked to win first time around. If so, he got used to the idea pretty quickly, and grew to like it. Perhaps in his heart of hearts he would not mind heading to Florida and the golf course for good. But to do that he must lose, and he does not do that well. He could be, to use his own hyperbole, the best bad loser in the world.

READ MORE: Scots have scathing view of Trump presidency

A convincing show in Nashville tonight, or tomorrow morning our time, would cap a week when his poll ratings have started to nudge slightly upwards. They are still not great, and Mr Biden continues to lead in the key battleground states, but a week and a half is an age in election terms.

A comeback for Mr Trump depends on the successful execution of his strategy for defeating his opponent, and so far he is failing to land a punch. What worked against Hillary Clinton in 2016 is not working against Mr Biden. The attempts to paint the former Vice-President and his family as some crime syndicate is ludicrous even by Trumpian standards.

The story about the “smoking laptop”, or as Mr Trump put it “the laptop from hell”, said to contain an email from a Ukrainian oil company thanking Hunter Biden for arranging a meeting with his dad, is not gaining traction, much to the fury of the Trump campaign. Aside from The New York Post, few media outlets are showing interest in digging further.

How different to 2016 when candidate Trump could send a dozen hares running about his opponent and watch the media go after them. It did not matter if the stories were true, as long as they discredited her and took attention away from his mistakes.

This time, rightly or wrongly (and I happen to think there is enough there to take a look), the media is not buying. They know all about fake news. Haven’t they learned at the feet of the master?

While Mr Trump has been criss-crossing the country preaching to the faithful, his opponent has spent most of this week at home, prepping for the televised debate.

He passed much of the summer there too. Mr Trump has chided him for his low to no profile, but with most Americans similarly holed up due to the pandemic, it is Mr Trump and his crowds who look the weird ones. If Mr Biden can get through tonight, then a few more sleeps, he might just be on his way.

READ MORE: Tirade launched against polls, press, health expert

The Democrats hardly dare dream they could be close to victory. Campaign chiefs are trying to dampen expectations, reminding the foot soldiers that Hillary, too, was ahead in the polls at this point. She won the popular vote, but Mr Trump won where it mattered, in the Electoral College. When you look at how tight the margins were it is not impossible he could triumph again. In one state the difference between defeat and victory amounted to a handful of votes across a few areas.

If you are staying up tonight to watch the debate, it is well worth passing the time by catching The Trump Show on BBC2. The second of this excellent three part documentary finds the President beset by scandals involving everything from allegations that Russia helped him win office to the graphic tales of an adult film star. His fight backs are nasty, ferocious, but always effective. The Donald is down, but he is not out yet.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.