Looming like a mob boss

A dance critic dissects Trump’s moves in the debate.

Donald Trump, looming behind Hillary Clinton like a mob boss, only reinforced his perception as a schoolyard bully in the second presidential debate Sunday night.

The dance was grim from the start. Trump entered looking exhausted. In a break with protocol, the candidates didn’t shake hands. And then Trump began lurking behind Clinton when she spoke, with his carefully planted stance, his narrowed eyes and his frown.

More a scowl than a frown. He looked ridiculous. Intimidating, yes, but also ridiculous.

“This is exactly who Donald Trump is,” Clinton said, speaking about the tapes. Trump helpfully backed her up with his demeanor. He paced and rocked and grimaced as she spoke; he broke into her time by shouting over her. When she protested that she had not done the same to him, he shot back with all the finesse you’d hear in a middle school gym: “That’s ’cause you got nothin’ to say.”

Ignorant, vulgar, and rude – what an adornment to the office he would be.

When it was his turn to speak, Trump got angry, pointed at her, swung his arms around with alarming force. Clinton had to have been disturbed by the ill temper and aggressive gestures he directed at her, though she seemed remarkably unflappable.

But bullying was on her mind. Late in the evening she mentioned “the Trump effect” and noted that bullies in school are on the rise because of it. She was referring to a 2016 survey of K-12 teachers, titled “The Trump Effect,” that was conducted by Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It found a recent increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation among students, along with a rise in fear and anxiety, particularly among the minority groups Trump has targeted.

I haven’t read the survey and have no idea how they determined that Trump was cause and not correlation…but it would be odd if he hadn’t had any effect at all. I suppose we could hope that his long-term effect will turn out to be revulsion and a diminution of bullying…Yeah, that will happen…

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