Once again, everyone is talking about Donald Trump.
This time, Trump is the center of discussion because of the way he handled himself in Saturday night’s Republican debate, declining to bow his head during the moment of silence for recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as his Republican opponents had done.
Instead, he stood there in silence like the others, with his hands crossed, but looked directly ahead, out at the audience.
The decision to not bow his head and close his eyes in reverence has everyone interpreting what could have been a brilliant, or possibly fatal, strategic political move—it all depends on how Trump’s choice to do so is interpreted.
But that is likely entirely the point. It is certainly, by far, it’s advantage. Intentional or not, it’s a genius move on Trump’s part. Here’s why:
While Trump doesn’t bow his head or close his eyes, he does stand, with his hands respectfully folded, in silence. That is to his favor.
That he does not close his eyes and bow his head could indicate disapproval of the late Supreme Court Justice. That is also to Trump’s favor if he wishes to capture votes from the Left, or perhaps even more Libertarian votes.
That he singled himself out, once again, amongst the crowded Republican race, is also to Trump’s favor. Time and again, Trump has found a way to leave voters walking out into post-debate hallways talking about something he’d done or said. Good or bad, Trump knows how to stick a political Trump ellipsis in voters’ minds, resonating from media stunt to media stunt. Whether they love him or remain unsure about him on the Right, Trump knows how to ensure name recognition with his potential voters, and that recognition will help foster a small sense of comfort through its familiarity. That is to Trump’s advantage.
Sure, Trump might have left Scalia’s family and friends a little miffed over his failure to bow his head and close his eyes, and he may have given the Evangelicals another clue that, honestly, when you get down to it, Trump is just not a religious guy, despite being able to tell voters the religion his parents or parents’ parents may have practiced.
But if you consider all the different angles, it’s easy to see that Trump’s decision will work in his ultimate favor. Either his decision to decline bowing his head and closing his eyes for Scalia was intentional and calculating, or it was natural and mindless behavior coming from a man with an enormous ego. Whichever the case may be, there is no denying that once again, Trump has left people talking, and this time, he didn’t even have to make a racist statement or have people beaten and dragged from the room. Score one more for Donald Trump.
Featured image via YouTube video screen capture.