In this Atlantic piece on how candidates will do in the debates:
“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Jane Goodall, the anthropologist, told me shortly before Trump won the GOP nomination. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”
In her book My Life With the Chimpanzees, Goodall told the story of “Mike,” a chimp who maintained his dominance by kicking a series of kerosene cans ahead of him as he moved down a road, creating confusion and noise that made his rivals flee and cower. She told me she would be thinking of Mike as she watched the upcoming debates.
“Vigorous and imaginative” displays on Trump’s part and steady error avoidance on Clinton’s are the stories of their progress through the primary-cycle debates. Clinton is her party’s nominee independent of anything that happened in the 10 Democratic debates and town halls, and with minimal effect from them on her financial, endorsement, and name-recognition advantages. Trump is his party’s nominee largely because of the Republicans’ 20-some debates, town halls, forums, and other live-television displays.