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Donald Trump won the debate he didn’t attend.

Everyone probably suspected on an intuitive level that Trump would win Thursday night’s debate somehow, but now that the carnival is over, it’s absolutely clear he did. Here are the reasons why:

1.) Trumpism was the tone of the night.

2.) Second-placer Ted Cruz repeatedly mimicked Trump, hoping to absorb his dominance. 

It didn’t exactly pay off.

3.) Trump’s absence kept him on the minds of viewers and candidates.

4.) Trump cleaned up in mentions.