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Scott Adams: Trump won the debate by lurking behind Hillary, threatening to jail her

Donald Trump preparing for last night's debate
Donald Trump preparing for last night’s debate

Are any of you wondering what Dilbert creator and Dunning-Kruger poster boy Scott Adams has to say about last night’s debate? No? Too bad, because I already went and looked at his post on the subject, and it’s too loopy not to share.

Given that Adams, like Trump, is a narcissistic buffoon who’s wrong about nearly everything, it may not come as a shock to learn that Adams thinks Trump won the debate. It’s the reasons he gives for this, er, victory that are a little strange.

Let’s go through them.

First, the self-styled master persuader thinks that Trump scored big persuasion points by responding to the question about his “p***y grabbing” comments by … talking about ISIS.

As Adams sees it:

The persuasion move was that he quickly contrasted that “small” issue with images of ISIS beheadings, and cage-drownings. It was a high ground maneuver, a powerful visual anchor (like the Rosie O’Donnell move from his first primary debate), and a contrast play. In this framing, Trump cares about saving your life while Clinton cares about your choice of words. I realize the issue is Trump’s alleged deeds, not his words. But in terms of debate persuasion, Trump nailed it hard.

I’m not sure what exactly a “contrast play” is, but I feel comfortable in saying that most of those watching the debate saw Trump’s move as a “completely transparent attempt to change the subject.”

Adams then suggested that Trump’s much-discussed habit of following Clinton around the stage and lurking behind her like some kind of movie monster was actually a brilliant persuasion technique:

Clinton’s body language was defensive. Trump is physically larger and prowled the stage. He won the optics.

Adams also seems to blame Clinton for the actions of a random insect:

It only got worse when a fly landed on Clinton’s face mid-answer.

Apparently, flies never land on true ALPHA DOGS like Trump.

Adams also thinks that Trump’s not-really-joking threat to toss Hillary in jail — which many people see as proof that Trump doesn’t understand how democracy works — was actually a super-smart “visual persuasion” move.

His comment about putting Clinton in jail has that marvelous visual persuasion quality about it, and it was the laugh of the night, which means it will be repeated endlessly. He also looked like he meant it.

Adams doesn’t care much about actual policy, and assumes no one else does either, and so he’s somehow convinced himself that Trump deserves more points for occasionally sounding like he almost knows what he’s talking about than Clinton does for actually understanding the issues inside and out. 

For Adams, it’s enough that “Trump threw in enough random details about Syria to persuade viewers that he knows more than they thought he knew” — which was nothing.

As for the rest of the issues, well, all Trump needed to do to beat Clinton was to pretend he vaguely knew about some of them.

We don’t know how to fix Obamacare or what to do with TPP. But by acting competent on these and other policy issues, Trump gains more than Clinton in persuasion.


Adams has a few other arguments, but I’m not going to write about them. Instead, I want you to imagine Scott Adams picking his nose and then eating his boogers.

You’ve got to admit that image has a “marvelous visual persuasion quality about it,” huh?



140 replies on “Scott Adams: Trump won the debate by lurking behind Hillary, threatening to jail her”

@History Nerd, I’d put that number way, way higher. If it’s 30%, it would be hard for it to be as dominant as it is. It’s a plurality.

(In my grumpier moments I feel like I’m the only one in my friends and family who sees rape culture at all. Data point of one.)

@Virgin Mary: What a disgusting, horrible man. Advocating for LGBT people to die or kill themselves? Gladly admitting to beating his kids and his wife? Telling his wife she doesn’t deserve the right to vote because she’s a woman and women can’t make those decisions? Seriously?

I pray that he and his followers find peace with themselves one day. Or at the very least, their children don’t grow up to blindly follow that hateful man straight into violence.


At least a significant part of the population buys into rape culture

Yeah… I know… That’s what I said…


In my grumpier moments I feel like I’m the only one in my friends and family who sees rape culture at all. Data point of one

Yep. I live with 3 people, who’ve all, in the last few days, said some stupid shit in relation to the pussy tape. Like pulling teeth tryna explain to grown ass people how they’re not helping. You ain’t alone. Stay woke, sista!

I saw that video @Virgin Mary, thanks for sharing it. Though, I’m right with @Paradoxy in my feelings on it. And I ain’t gonna go to sleep none, @Axecalibur, as nice as it’d be to just go with the flow of the people around me. It’s just difficult. Frankly, it’s mostly the stress of too-many-humans-in-too-small-a-space talking for me at the moment. Day four is drawing towards its end in four hours or so.

Though, good news on that – turns out that they’re all leaving tomorrow morning, quite early, and it’s everyone that’s leaving! A glorious weekend of freedom on the way.

Related, had a conversation with the family last night. Well, sat in on a conversation, really; I know better than to speak up when the wine has come out. It was all Brexit-was-awesome, and at-least-Trump-will-shake-things-up, and isn’t-it-awful-they’re-raising-the-pension-age, and the-world-is-gonna-end-in-fifty-years-max. (To be fair, my family’s 50-50 on that sort of thing, and they’re pretty liberal and progressive for the most part.) I had to keep my mouth shut to keep myself from telling them how badly their attitudes were punishing the generations following them. We’re the ones that have to live with Brexit, and ‘clean coal’, and war with Russia, and – ugh. Everything.

I don’t want to be all “Ugh, old people suck,” because lots of baby boomers and the like really do get this stuff. It’s the attitude of assumed wisdom that I’m complaining about, that their lived experience makes their instincts as valuable as raw statistics. It’s the same issues with MRAs and the Alt-Right, and it’s everywhere.

Trevor Noah states the obvious: Trump and his supporter’s excuse for the pussy grab tape is to conflate ‘sex talk’ with ‘assault talk’, as if there were no distinction between crude objectifying chat and comments that blatantly advocate sexual assault. Incredible that it has to spelled out to some people.


And I ain’t gonna go to sleep none, @Axecalibur

A glorious weekend of freedom on the way


ugh. Everything

That’s gonna be on my gravestone. Well, more profanity, but the gist is the same 😀

I don’t want to be all “Ugh, old people suck,”

Statistically speaking…
Yeah, there’s plenty of old folks who’re lovely, thoughtful human beings. And, in their time, a lot of them were, well, us. Or the equivalent. And that kinda scares me. I’d like to think I won’t become ‘that guy’ in 30 years. That I’m not standing in the way of whatever progress looks like by then. I hope not, and I’ll try not to, but I dunno…

@Axe: Heh… she looks like she’s punching Australia. And she’d be right to do it. (And, for what it’s worth, I’ve known plenty of folks who’ve stayed progressive throughout their lives. I suspect that, if one is, or works to be, fundamentally open-minded, one tends to stay that way. If we’re going to fall into habits and set ways of thinking as we go along, well, we can make those habits and ways of thinking things like “listening to others and accepting their points of view as valid”, know what I mean?)


she looks like she’s punching Australia. And she’d be right to do it

Take a number 😉

If we’re going to fall into habits and set ways of thinking as we go along, well, we can make those habits and ways of thinking things like “listening to others and accepting their points of view as valid”, know what I mean?

Yeah, I know what you mean. That helps. Thanks 🙂

Some of Adams’ gibberish in that post sounds a lot like NLP jargon. From a bit of a Google search, it would appear that Adams is indeed into NLP, which given his interest in other forms of bunk, doesn’t surprise me.

@kupo It’s believable that around 15-20% of men have raped someone at least once in their lives. Maybe 5% or so of men realized they can do it over and over again and not get caught. Some studies show that 60% of all people have been molested as children


Maybe 5% or so of men realized they can do it over and over again and not get caught

Mind explaining how you came to this conclusion? Both the 5% figure and the ‘maybe’

Some studies show that 60% of all people have been molested as children

Finish that thought. That sentence, placed the way it is in that paragraph and missing some context, seems like it could go in a rather hideous direction. I don’t think you mean it that way, but I’m gonna need you to clarify what you’re tryna say here


I’m 52 and I work with several men who are older than me, in a very rural setting. It’s totally possible to stay progressive, although I admit it isn’t always easy.

I think working to knock these guys’ prejudices down is probably partly what keeps me from being a bitter old fart.

Another thing: stay connected to younger people. As you get older it gets a little harder to tolerate young people because they are working through and learning the same things you worked through and had to learn when you were younger – but it’s boring now because you did it 20 years ago and you want to talk about other things. Try not to be bored by young people, try to remember what you went through when all these ideas were new to you, too.

Stay self-aware, hold yourself to the same standards of open-mindedness that you expect from others. I know I have my own blinders that help me avoid thinking too hard about my attitudes towards certain topics, and I have to stay aware of that.

Remember that we all hold our memories dear, and it’s very human to be uncomfortable with change. We all tend to forget that part of the reason we hold our childhoods as precious and “the good old days” as better than the present is because we had a very limited understanding of the world then, in most cases, and were unaware of the many hardships that have faced people forever.

History Nerd

@kupo It’s believable that around 15-20% of men have raped someone at least once in their lives. Maybe 5% or so of men realized they can do it over and over again and not get caught. Some studies show that 60% of all people have been molested as children

Axe made some good points already, but I want to take the time to address this. First, I’m not sure why you’re even bringing these figures into it as they’re around percentages of rapists and victims, which is not the same as rape culture. This is an honest question, not snark: are you familiar with what feminists mean by rape culture? It doesn’t seem like you are, and I would suggest further reading before you continue with this discussion. Here are some links to get you started:

Now, on to your post, which is about rape, not rape culture. When you say, “it’s believable,” by whom are you referring? By you? By the 1 in 6 women, 1 in 33 men, and 1 in 5 transgender people who are victims of rape? Or the Native American women who are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than other women? Sometimes facts are difficult to believe, but we can’t just use what we want to believe about the world as our guide in what we choose to believe because our mind filters our perception of the world. What we think we see is not reality. Reality is much harsher than we would like to believe.

The fact is we don’t know how many rapists there are. Less than half of rapes are reported to police and only 3% of rapists spend time in prison for it (source). Some studies show as many as 1 in 4 men have raped someone in their lifetime (source).

The alt-right really isn’t anything new. It’s more or less people tangential to nihilistic anarchist movements – History Nerd

No, it isn’t. I’m not an anarchist, but this is a foul slander on their name. The alt-right are not even similar to the noxious “anarcho-capitalists” like Murray Rothbard; those who have any coherent ideas at all are neo-Nazis or proudly reactionary authoritarians.

I know what’s meant by rape culture and I’m sorry I was unclear. By “it’s believable,” I meant it would be consistent with the Lisak study and I was talking about one of the linked posts that listed studies.

@Nick G I said “tangential” because they’re not really anarchists and don’t really have coherent ideas. They might hang around anarcho-capitalists.

@History Nerd
If you understand what rape culture is, why do you only think “maybe 30% [of men] have rape culture attitudes”? It’s part of our culture. I would guess that at some point in our lives, 100% of us have perpetuated rape culture in some way. Even active feminists are still learning and likely contribute in ways they don’t realize.

Rates of sexual assault can vary greatly by country. In places where marital rape is considered to be a man’s right and not a crime, a far higher number of men are rapists. They just don’t consider what they do to their wives to be rape.

Then there is the rate of actual rape vs. number of rapes that are reported to law enforcement.

The UN has been conducting extensive research into sexual assault, and has determined that, globally, one in four men has committed rape.

@kupo I agree. I meant people who might believe in rape myths more explicitly. But I shouldn’t speculatively make up statistics.

@WWTH, just read that. I’m pretty sure that the polls aren’t lagging. Most men just want to laugh it off. They don’t want to define groping as sexual assault, and don’t want to believe stories of sexual assault. One more reason to not go outside.

Unrelated, the house is finally empty. I think I’ll be taking today off of work and just decompress. I’ve had enough humans until the Christmas holidays.

This kind of fundie stuff actually really upsets me because I was spiritually abused (yes, that is a real thing) by a sect in the UK for more than ten years. I know a great many people who used to be my friends (before I got shunned) who would find Pastor Anderson’s comments very reasonable.

@Scildfreja (an anyone else insights)
Not just men want to avoid the issue, though we are the predominant group. I’m still arguing this one on Facebook, in this example a post suggesting we should drop the subject because Trump “apologized”.

One of my Dad’s women friends is going the “Trump only owes the Lord an apology” route. This then segues into a bunch of stuff about Hillary being corrupt and Bill being ignored on this issue via a transition about Democrats and “holier than thou”.

I’ve got a response planned, but I was curious if you or anyone had any suggestions or insights?

Bill is not running and even if there were anything to his behavior it’s entirely possible that Hillary believes him*. That is not an uncommon problem and does nothing to make her look worse than Trump (and my parents have not engaged on that point at all). Pointing at even true examples of corruption is just changing the subject as if two wrongs make a right. And independently of deities the idea that any wrong doing does not require apologies to people is just wrong.

*Are there any resources related to the women who have accused Bill Clinton? I have wanted to read about it but it’s hard to find anything that is not a right-wing froth-fest.

I’d argue that all men, at least in the west, are part of rape culture. Even if we don’t act on it or even speak on it, those attitudes have been internalised at a very basic level and are still lurking. To use the metaphor of a disease, we are all carriers. We need to recognise it in ourselves so that we can avoid acting on it.

I am not a sociologist, but I think a large part of changing this is going to be changing our sons’ attitude towards power, especially power over other individuals. However, that touches on so many other parts of culture that I would have no idea how to go about it.

@IP (if you’re reading this): as someone who no longer identifies as male, what’s your take? Do you recognise this in yourself?


even if there were anything to his behavior…

Bruh, the fuck!? “Even if.” The past tense. “Anything.” “His behavior.” Everything about this is wrong! 😠

@Brony, of course you’re right, I’m sorry. It’s not just men that facilitate rape culture. Women do as well. That’s why it’s a *culture* – it touches everything. Thank you for the correction.

And yeah, Bill Clinton is gross. Maybe his attitudes have improved, but I’ve got no reason to believe that until I see it. Bill isn’t Hillary, though, and you’re very right that any mention of Bill during Hillary’s campaign is just a distraction.

@History Nerd
I should have thought of snopes. I’m used to google-fu. Thanks! The image macro my Dad is using has almost two dozen women on it but a start is a start.

I stand corrected. You are right. I know better than that and I’m not sure why I put it that way. I’ll think about that.

It was not intended as a correction but thank you anyway. There is too much moving of attention from men at the moment, and given my previous comment I’m not immune either.

I didn’t think you took it to be a correction! I try to look for corrections, though, so thank you for speaking up.

I hope decompressing goes well.

I did not think that you thought I took it as a correction. Did I word something badly?

I was feeling odd that you felt corrected by me because I was also sliding attention from men, though wrongly in this case I guess (I’m a little on guard for mistakes in general right now). I was hoping it was more of addition to the situation.

Too much convolution. I need decompress too.

@ Scildfreja and weirwoodtreehugger

This recent article from the Atlantic does a lot of good investigation into why men favor Trump by a much larger percentage than women.

Many men, in fact, see Trump as the candidate who can restore men’s status in society. According to several recent analyses, about half of men feel American culture has become too soft and feminine, and they feel men are suffering as a result. Many seem to find comfort in Trump’s talk of male dominance and success.

Trump supporters are more likely than Clinton supporters to feel that society punishes men just for acting like men, while Clinton supporters are far more likely to “completely disagree” with that statement, according to an analysis of likely voters in a poll conducted by PRRI and The Atlantic between October 5 and October 9.

The whole thing is worth reading, especially when the author discusses demographics like education levels.

Worth noting that – at least in the September polls- Trump was ahead of Hillary with white non college graduate women.

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