Presidential debates are often assessed based on body language as much as they are based on what candidates say. Some people are saying Donald Trump’s body language in the first 2016 presidential debate didn’t help him.
Will the interrupting and aggressive posture toward the first female presidential major party nominee hurt Trump with women?
It did with some, but the question is whether it will affect the polls or the general electorate. That is as of yet unclear.
Other candidates have been undone by body language in debates. Many people remember how Al Gore lost ground against George W. Bush by appearing excessively exasperated in a debate. “Vice President Al Gore just couldn’t hide his exasperation. Especially not after Republican operatives spliced together a clip of him sighing and sighing again and again during his first presidential debate against George W. Bush,” said CNN.
One analyst told USA Today before the debate that Trump’s body language has flaws: the expert said she “admires Trump’s communications skills, some of his ticks and tendencies drive her crazy, because they distract an audience from his message (“It’s called ‘noise.’ You just get sick of it.”) or contradict it.” However, the analyst also had criticism for Clinton’s body language, telling the newspaper, “Clinton sometimes gives a little shrug while she’s making a point, which suggests subconscious uncertainty about what she’s saying.”
And who can forget the famous debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, in which the younger, handsome Kennedy simply looked better on TV? Some drew analogies.
More than one person made this analogy, especially due to Trump’s sniffling as well as his interrupting:
Rick Lazio warned Trump about the perils of debate body language. He lost the 2000 New York Senate race to Hillary Clinton, and many observers attributed the loss to women voters disliking it when Lazio was perceived to have invaded Clinton’s space during the debate. As The New York Daily News put it, Lazio’s “senatorial hopes were dashed when he waltzed up to opponent Hillary Clinton during their 2000 debate.”
Whether Trump constantly interrupting Clinton – especially in the first part of the debate – will similarly be turned into a campaign attack is something that time will tell.
Some people also analyzed the body language of the candidates’ families.
But maybe “body language” is in the eye of the beholder:
However, some didn’t like Hillary Clinton’s body language, either.
But Trump’s body language did not get rave reviews on Twitter.
Whether it moves votes? Time will tell.