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Unlike some of Trump’s superfans, Adams is willing to admit that, yeah, Hillary kind of won the debate, at least by normal debate standards.
Clinton won on points. She had more command of the details and the cleaner answers. Trump did a lot of interrupting and he was defensive. If this were a college debate competition, Clinton would be declared the winner.
But Adams thinks this “victory on the 2D chess board” doesn’t really matter, because in his mind, apparently, Trump is playing some kind of 95th Dimensional mashup of Chess, Cribbage, and Hungry Hungry Hippos, or something. And in this game, Trump is the clear winner.
“Clinton won the debate last night,” Adams explains. “And while she was doing it, Trump won the election.”
IS YOUR MIND BLOWN YET
On the off chance that your mind is not, in fact, blown, let’s look at exactly why Adams thinks Trump is the real victor in this game of 95th Dimension Chesscribbippos.
As he sees it, Hillary needed to prove to skeptical Americans (or at least to Dr. Adams) that she’s healthy. And she failed.
Clinton looked (to my eyes) as if she was drugged, tired, sick, or generally unhealthy, even though she was mentally alert and spoke well. But her eyes were telling a different story. She had the look of someone whose doctors had engineered 90 minutes of alertness for her just for the event.
Huh. This is your takeaway from a debate in which Trump sniffled so much that people started to wonder if he wasn’t hopped up on the cocaine?
Some will say Clinton outperformed expectations because she didn’t cough, collapse, or die right on stage.
But that’s not enough for Adams, who raises the serious medical question: Is Hillary’s smile kind of weird?
Clinton’s smile seemed forced, artificial, and frankly creepy. … My neighbor Kristina hypothesized that Botox was making her smile look unnatural. Science tells us that when a person’s mouth smiles, but their eyes don’t match the smile, they look disingenuous if not creepy. Botox on your crow’s feet lines around your eyes can give that effect. But whatever the reason, something looked off to me.
CLEARLY UNQUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT
Trump, by contrast, was the perfect model of health and handsomeness! Well, not entirely.
To be fair, Trump’s physical appearance won’t win him any votes either. But his makeup looked better than I have seen it (no orange), his haircut was as good as it gets for him … .
But Trump didn’t WIN THE ELECTION LAST NIGHT just by being somewhat less orange than usual. He showed what a calm, cool, and collected customer he is.
Trump needed to solve exactly one problem: Look less scary. Trump needed to counter Clinton’s successful branding of him as having a bad temperament to the point of being dangerous to the country. Trump accomplished exactly that…by…losing the debate.
Trump was defensive, and debated poorly at points, but he did not look crazy.
And pundits noticed that he intentionally avoided using his strongest attacks regarding Bill Clinton’s scandals.
You actually think he lost the debate … on purpose?
In other words, he showed control. He stayed in the presidential zone under pressure. And in so doing, he solved for his only remaining problem. He looked safer.
As I put it in a tweet to Adams last night (you’ll have to forgive my typo):
Yeah, Trump throwing a tantrum as the same exact moment he was attacking Hillary for having a bad "temperament" was super duper reassuring. https://t.co/RQnRLxd66C
— (((David Futrelle))) (@DavidFutrelle) September 27, 2016
Trump definitely looked presidential, not at all like a giant petulant baby who shouldn’t even be in the same city as the nuclear codes.
— POLITICO (@politico) September 27, 2016
— Bernardete Baronti (@BernaBaronti) September 27, 2016
Missed this: Trump snubbed moderator Holt after the debate.
— Peter W. Singer (@peterwsinger) September 27, 2016
Trump after first debate ! pic.twitter.com/ImJtNtQzjN
— Barron Trump (@CCW000) September 27, 2016
Oh, wait, that last one isn’t Trump. Hard to tell sometimes.
And here’s the latest Pledge Drive capybara, with a friend: