Trump and Clinton will never shake hands again in any debate.

The Decline of American Political Civility, in One Chart

The Decline of American Political Civility, in One Chart

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 19 2016 11:27 PM

The Decline of American Political Civility, in One Chart

613703592-democratic-presidential-candidate-hillary-clinton-and
After Michelangelo.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Our attention has been drawn to an illuminating statistical trend that has taken shape over the course of the 2016 presidential debates: The Handshakes-per-Debate Index (HDI) of American political civility seems to be in linear decline.

161019_handshakes2

As you can see in the above graph, this presidential contest kicked off at the HDI maximum of 2 (a shake before, a shake after). You don't need to be Nate Silver to see why the handshake quotient fell to 1 at the debate earlier this month (a shake after), and finally dropped to zero shortly after Donald Trump called his rival "such a nasty woman" in the waning moments of Wednesday night’s forum.

Advertisement

Based on the data, which we've made publicly available for your analysis, we're tempted to project negative handshake territory for the next time these two meet. And since that's—*adjusts glasses*—physically impossible, we are left to conclude one thing: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may never meet again.

Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox.

Andrew Kahn is Slate’s assistant interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.