Unlike most pundits, I don't think I'm capable of knowing what most of the rest of humanity responds positively to. I do think it's important to remember that while last night probably wasn't the best Donald, it was actually the Donald that people vote for over 16 other clown car members. Meaning, he's the guy that people liked. There were definitely moments in the debate that even Republican "Very Serious People" probably thought were awful, but I thought might have actually sounded pretty good to anybody who was considering voting for him in the first place.
Donald doesn't know anything about foreign policy, or the wider world, but neither does just about anybody else who claims to who works in politics. What people on the teevee know, some of them anyway, is "foreign policy," the very narrow set of agreed upon Washington Conventional wisdom about the types of things Very Serious People are supposed to say about "foreign policy." In other words, they've memorized some arbitrary rulebook, but they've never actually tried to play the game. Or seen it played.
As for economics, once you get outside the general Republican "taxes bad regulations bad," which is nonsense that Very Serious People have agreed isn't nonsense, the economic critique from the Right, which I suppose you'd called the Right's economic populism, is genuinely gibberish. Their critiques of trade and trade deals and the Fed are complete gibberish (not that these things are above criticism, just that the criticisms from the Right usually make no sense. They aren't just wrong, they don't follow logically from one statement to the next.) Still, it sounds good to a lot of people. Your ranty drunk racist white uncle is an archetype because there are a lot of ranty drunk racist white uncles, and they all kinda sound like that.
I'd say on theater it wasn't a great night. He let That Woman get the better of him, and that's an unforgivable sin. On "substance," he gave the people what they want.