Matt Evans: What I Learned From The First Republican Swimsuit Contest


Short Answer: Nothing.

I went and read the transcript later, and watched a few video clips.

Who in America thinks that 30 seconds is enough time to answer any of these questions in a way that is both plausible and demonstrates sufficient expertise?

Who is this debate for? What is its purpose?

In this “debate” format, contestants are allowed to land barbs and do chest thumping. They are allowed to make value statements. “I believe blah”, or “It is wrong that blah”, or “I will do a better job than blah”.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Unsurprisingly, poll feedback from DrudgeReport shows that the majority of folks thought that Donald Trump won the debate. I say unsurprisingly because Trump is the one with the most experience at mass-market reality TV show pageantry.[/mks_pullquote]

But where are the details? Not here. Where are the admissions that this stuff is difficult to fix? Where is the discussion that any plausible way forward will face legitimate opposition from negatively impacted interests?

By the way, the total speaking time for each contestant has been tabulated and released. Donald Trump had more than 10 minutes. In last place was Rand Paul, with less than half that.

Unsurprisingly, poll feedback from DrudgeReport shows that the majority of folks thought that Donald Trump won the debate. I say unsurprisingly because Trump is the one with the most experience at mass-market reality TV show pageantry, and has been the TV news cycle darling for a while.

In fact, rather than us having witnessed a debate, I would say that we saw something more like the Miss America contest, except the contestants were men in suits.

Like the real pageant, each contestant needed to show off a talent, say something heartwarming, and commit to a ridiculous and lofty goal they had no realistic chance of achieving. Also, like any good pageant, there’s always the chance that some contestant will give a real wildcard speech that makes no sense at all and has the internet laughing for years afterwards. (Oh, Miss South Carolina…)

So, let’s continue with our Pageant analysis.

It’s clear that Ms. Trump expects the judges to hurry through the formality of declaring her the winner. After all, she is rich, the camera loves her, and she can say anything she wants to and it just brings in more ratings. Everybody is thinking, but nobody’s saying, that she doesn’t actually look all

that good in any of her outfits, but her stage presence is just overwhelming.

Ms. Paul is clearly pretty jealous of Mrs. Trump. Ms. Paul has been working on her tan and her talent show routine all year, and was really looking strong coming into the pageant season. Yet that slutty Ms. Trump has waltzed in at the last minute and is totally hogging the camera! Ms. Paul is clearly smarter than Ms. Trump, and less obnoxious, and has a better bikini body this summer. She has been doing lots of outreach work in places that other contestants don’t bother with, and it seems like that should count for something. You can see how frustrated she is that the judges are captivated by Ms. Trump’s drama.

I felt bad for Ms. Carson. I think this is her first pageant and it was a bit uncomfortable for her to be around the more experienced girls. It’s clear that she’s at least as talented and good looking as anyone else on the stage, but she’s still a bit shy about it. Ms. Carson is hoping that the judges will notice her without her having to be as ostentatious as Ms. Trump. To really get noticed, she probably needs to wear something skimpier and add some sassiness to her stage presence. But will that hurt her charm? I admit I have a soft spot for those brainy, quiet ladies, but do the judges?

I’ve seen Ms. Christie before at other contests, and while she has some cute outfits, I’ve never really been blown away by her talent. She and Ms. Paul had a bit of a tiff on stage. As usual, Ms. Christie pointed out how rough her neighborhood is, and that anybody not from there will never understand what it’s like to be her. I guess she’s successfully convinced me that I never want to visit her neighborhood.

I’m still not sure why Ms. Bush is even on this stage – although, if you actually squint and look at her closely, she’s not bad looking. I think a lot of people judge her harshly because her mom and her sister were both pageant winners, but that’s not really fair to her. Her problem is that she isn’t being judged against the other contestants on the stage – she’s being judged against the memory of her mother and sister — who both looked great in the bulky swimwear of their respective eras, but who didn’t age gracefully.

I think that Ms. Walker has always been a great Miss Wisconsin, but she didn’t really capture my attention tonight.

There were other ladies on the stage, but after seeing so many, it’s hard to remain objective and remember all of them.

In any case, after tonight’s showing, I’m really looking forward to the evening gown competition!