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Scott Adams: Trump “won the election” last night by losing the debate

Very presidential
Very presidential

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If you thought Chuck Tingle’s version of the Clinton-Trump debate last night was surreal, well, take a look at what Dilbert creator and wannabe master persuader Scott Adams has to say about it.

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.”



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.


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.

Wait, what?

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):

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.


Oh, wait, that last one isn’t Trump. Hard to tell sometimes.

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Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen
5 years ago

Reading over the Biblical story part of this thread, it reminds me of an idea I’ve long had for reading those stories: a widely-distributed version of the Bible that actually explains what the cultural assumptions were at the time those stories were written, and what the intended moral of them was/were.

Like, to grab another troublesome story, Lot and his two daughters. An understanding of what their culture values were would go a long way towards explaining what the heck the reasoning was behind their choices.

Based on my very limited understanding of the matter, it was considered a MASSIVE breach of hospitality etiquette for Lot to have tossed his guests to the mob; the daughters were considered the more acceptable substitute. And if the later story of Lot’s daughters is read as an early post-apocalyptic story, then their decision on who fathered their kids becomes a lot more understandable.

Though I do wonder if ancient audiences found those stories as horrific in their own way as people today do. Like, I kinda doubt Lot appreciated being put in a position where he felt he had to make that offer to anyone, and I doubt his adult daughters wanted to use their old man as a stud, ya know?

Or I could be full of it, too.

5 years ago

Has anyone read this Slate piece on Adams and his blog?

Adams himself calls it a “hit piece,” which is delightful.

5 years ago


I have to do 25 hours/3yrs of CLE to keep my California bar membership in good standing, but there are various exemptions and some flexibility in what is considered “approved continuing legal education”. I am responsible for submitting my compliance data through the state bar website, and I imagine there are some individuals who take advantage of the current way things are done to avoid actually having to do *any* CLE – hopefully with the professional ethics committee doing a lot more audits of the data being submitted those individuals are caught and disciplined.

Family law is a difficult area, but things on the “Angry White men”-front have grown ever noisier. Sure, the older male lawyers aren’t allowed to call me “sugar”, “honey”, or “sweetheart” in open court now…so they just wait for the elevator or less crowded halls. Their clients are so busy being “defcon3796538765 level red” angry they could care less about what the kids are actually feeling as long as they can stick it to their soon-to-be-ex …sorry I’m completely frustrated and not in the best state of mind right now…

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ msexception

some flexibility in what is considered “approved continuing legal education”.

Yeah, we got told a couple of years ago that ‘learning how to cope with stress’ wasn’t really a skill; so no more spa days (I’m not joking).

Family law is one area I avoid, for the reasons you mention. Not the elevator stuff but the general background of anger and heightened emotions. Plus there are too many real world consequences when kids are involved so it’s hard to remain detached. People who use kids as weapons are pretty much the lowest of the low in my book. We have an organisation here ‘Fathers4justice’ and they’re pretty scummy like that.

There are obviously some genuine issues around access, but that’s not what they’re actually about. Ironically it’s often their embarrassing and hateful actions that alienate them from their kids anyway.

5 years ago

Well speaking of the election, what does everyone think of this

5 years ago

@RedSilkPhoenix: Jetpack Vixen
I have a feeling you added Jetpack Vixen in a thread I didn’t read. Brava!

So many problematic Bible stories, so little time!

To me, some Bible stories resonate.

But many, many more — not so much, ha, ha, ha!

I once read a Ms. article about Christian women in Africa struggling with Christian theology. One African woman came right out and said that the problematic stories in the Bible came from the devil.

Damn! (So to speak.)

I gave eli this link:

Bible Verses on Abuse & Violence

The website, as far as I could tell, was absolutely fine. But then I clicked on one of its links, this one to a book written by a Christian woman who had escaped her husband. Maybe I’ll write more about it later.

For now, I’ll say this: Don’t explore that link unless you’re feeling very strong! TWTWTWTWTW for the links.

This particular link connected me with Amazon, which was where her book was being sold. Some of the commenters made me want to cry and lose all hope in humanity — not to mention all hope for a good night’s sleep. But I’m fine, I’m okay.

What these Christian women, probably from the USA, talk about enduring, in the name of Christianity, made me sick. It’s a horrific, tortured alternative reality.

And this is all discussed on Amazon, right under our noses, where most customers are praising a book or panning an inadequate kitchen appliance.

5 years ago

Roger, who was with us for a few days, is no Troll of Yore.

Hangs in there 24/7 for days on end without tiring: 1 point — Roger seems to require sleep.

Amusing: .25 point.

Total (out of 10 points): 1.25 points.

Perhaps Scott — er, Roger — saves his best lines for a paying venue.

Plaatsvervangende Schaamte

Wow, that has to be the first troll takedown thread that I couldn’t actually finish reading. Roger wins for most tedious, most sea-lionest, most concern-trolliest, most disingenuous, and least interesting waster-of-time in the history of mammoths.

I’d engrave a trophy for him, but I feel a sudden, overwhelming urge to pull a rip van winkle and clear the cobwebs.

Tim Lieder
5 years ago

Not sure how this thread ended up with Bible stories, but Lot is definitely a disturbing story and it was written to be a disturbing story. Lot is a contrast to Abraham who is the man who followed God and became the ancestor to the Jews and several others (Muslims also claim him as an ancestor through Ishmael).

By contrast, Lot is weak and in his weakness he does things like offer his daughters to a crowd of rapists in order to save the guests. Then after Sodom is destroyed he has sex with his daughters – or they have sex with him by getting him drunk – but a full day passes between those incidents and one would think that Lot would not get drunk the second night knowing that it leads to incest.

And then those children are Moab and Ammon who are frequently cited as enemies of Israel.

Of course, for the purposes of this sight the most interesting story is the story of Yael & Sisera where Sisera is running from Judge Deborah’s armies and comes across Yael who invites him into her tent, gives him food and milk and when he’s asleep, goes outside, grabs a tent stake and nails it through his head.

He wanted to penetrate her; she penetrated him instead.

(and here’s where I plug She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Horror).

Anyhow, the end of that story has Sisera’s mother being comforted by her handmaids assuring her that Sisera is probably out “collecting” Israelite women. So yeah, Sisera is Rape Culture 101 complete with an awful mother who supports him in his assaults.

Yael is later cleaned up as Judith.

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