CNN’s debate will feature Cruz standing to the frontrunner’s left, a reflection of his recent rise in polls, especially in Iowa, at the expense of Ben Carson. This could be both a blessing and a curse. Trump has been attacking Cruz recently, and will likely bring new zingers to the debate. (Other candidates are expected to go after Cruz, too.) But at the most basic level, the problem for Cruz is that Trump is very good at simply dominating physical space at the debates.
Look how he forced Ben Carson into a high five/handshake:
Jeb Bush, too:
One blog suggested that even Trump’s post-debate handshake with Cruz could be a power play, with Trump pulling Cruz in to show dominance.
Sift through years of profiles of the Texas senator and you’ll get the sense that, while he’s highly intelligent, Cruz has low social intelligence. He makes enemies easily, and he scares little children by telling them the world is on fire. Trump is the opposite: high social intelligence, with little grasp of any facts beyond which media outlet said something mean about him recently. So the nonverbal communication between the two should be fascinating. Let’s root for a meaningful fist bump.