What's Tony Thinking

Round Two Goes To?


Post Alley asked its regular contributors to weigh in immediately following last night’s second Presidential debate. You can see my contribution, along with that of a half-dozen others at that site.

The first debate had set the bar so low that round two seemed, well, almost normal. As such, it probably won’t change much.

The one thing that struck me as interesting and somewhat odd is that in the side to sides of Trump and Biden, Biden always appeared as tall as Trump, if not a little taller. This despite the fact that Trump is actually 2 1/2″ taller than Biden.

How did that happen? Camera people taking it upon themselves to “level the playing field?” Was Joe wearing lifts? And, does it matter, who appears taller?

Maybe the taller thing matters, maybe it doesn’t. It is generally true, however, that there is a pre-disposition among humans to choose bigger/ taller people for leadership positions. That’s not always the wise choice, but still . . .

As I noted in my Post Alley piece I recall someone saying to me on the eve of the 1992 election of Clinton v. George H. W. Bush — one of the two other times in the post-WWII era than an incumbent President lost — that “Americans will go for whoever they think is the stronger of the two.” That year Bill Clinton, with a little help from Ross Perot, appeared more vigorous, the stronger of the two.

Does taller translate to stronger?  Last night Joe stood tall, both literally and figuratively. He was pretty vigorous for a 77-year-old, one who Trump keeps deriding as “sleepy.” There were times when he had real fire in the belly. He was on point and spoke directly to Americans. Trump, while better behaved, seemed tired. He’s put on so much weight that he’s looking somewhere between frumpy and dumpy.

I understand that all of this is about perception, not policy. But truth is, the debates themselves are largely battles of perception.

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