There is no sense in trying to analyze this one based on content. Trump’s strategy was to deflect every question to prepared and overworked talking points. The pictures, however, say it all. The kinesics and proxemics in this debate were everything.
Things began by looking pretty normal for a town hall format. Hillary looked very executive. By that I mean Chief Executive. She also looked beautiful. I know that is shallow, so shoot me. It’s been a long night of looking upon the very unpleasant countenance of Trump. Hillary’s appearance was a form a refreshment in a desert of suits made in Mexico and ties made in China.
Look. Pictures are worth thousands of words.
When Trump was talking Hillary remained seated and engaged.
When Hillary was speaking, Trump remained standing.
Hillary seated. Trump standing and speaking.
Hillary speaking. Trump standing and looking challenging.
Even when he is pointing at her (rudely) she remains seated.
She also smiled a lot. Her face remained pleasant. She stayed composed throughout and her demeanor was always appropriate.
Then Trump began doing the most bizarre thing. He stood behind her in a way that came on the TV screen like a Jennifer Lawrence photo bomb. It appeared on TV screens as threatening, stalker-like behavior.
She talks. He stalks.
She was talking and he interrupted. The appearance is that of a duet. But it was her turn. He was told several times not to intrude on her time.
What is this? She was speaking to the person with the question. He had apparently lost interest. He walked around like a bored teenager waiting for the ticket window at the rock fest to open.
Look at his face when she is speaking.
What’s this? Leaning on his chair? Where is the stamina? But he would not sit. Must maintain the advantage of his height.
Maybe he thought it looked presidential.
In Trump’s case, the chair was holding him up. Why didn’t he just sit down? At least in 1776 when the founding fathers sing “Sit down, John,” John Adams was actually speaking and making sense. Trump just seemed to need a respite. She was talking.
Lurking in the background.
While Hillary sat attentively when he had the floor.
Like a two-year-old. “My back is turned. You can’t see me.”
Mussolini face. Il Duce lives! Viva!
Such a sourpuss.
Even when he tried to smile the scowly face came through.
Smirking. The attempts at smiles looked more like mugging.
But Hillary remained composed, pleasant, and presidential throughout.
As far as content went, this debate was a spider’s web. Trump spun off questions into so many unrelated topics that Twitter was rife with people asking what he was talking about. For Hillary even to attempt to refute the unrelated kitchen sink of statements would have taken far more than the two-minute allotments. She was onto his game and said she knew he was “into big diversion” to get away from how his campaign was going. Not only was his body language menacing, Trump threatened her with a special prosecutor to “look into her situation” (whatever that is supposed to mean) should he be elected.
This was far from an informative debate, no fault of Hillary’s. Trump was so contentious that at one point he switched to debating moderator, Martha Raddatz, who actually has been in war zones, as Trump has not, and knows something about military strategy while Trump does not. Trump drove so many ersatz topics onto the floor in tiny time capsules that there was no way for Hillary to load on with refutation. She let him have his head because that’s what you do with a mad, feral animal which is what Trump was. He huffed and puffed like the wolf in The Three Little Pigs – or was that more sniffing? He is completely undisciplined, untamed, and lacks all capacity for improvement. Not redeemable.
Visually, there were times when Trump appeared to be stalking Hillary. Pacing back and forth while she spoke. It was most unsettling.
This was not the best presidential debate in our history. In fact it was creepy. None of that was Hillary’s fault. She tried her best to keep this on topic and on issue. Trump used every distraction in opposition to her attempts. How we score winning and losing should not be based on whether his tactics succeeded. It should be based on which candidate answered the questions and did not drive the car into a ditch.
Here’s the video.
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