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Why Donald Trump is awesome, according to Donald Trump

There's one thing Donald Trump has talked about more at the Republican debates than anything else: himself.

It's not uncommon for candidates to talk about themselves, and normally it wouldn't be out of place.

So why is it so noticeable? What's different about Trump is that he defies the expected decorum for politicians at this level, or at any level; he defies expected decorum for most adults. And it's not just the brash and temperamental insults he throws at competitors. It's the repeated, simple, and shameless declarative statements about himself that amount to: I'm a winner.

Take, for example, this run of short sentences at the Greenville, South Carolina, debate:

I am very open. I hired top people. I've had great success. I built a great, great company. I don't need to do this. I'm self-funding. I'm spending a lot of money.

And this one, at the same debate:

As a businessman, I get along with everybody. I have business all over the world.

And this one:

I do listen to people. I hire experts. I hire top, top people. And I do listen. And you know what? Sometimes they're wrong.

There are at least 150 more statements like that in the nine GOP debates in which Trump has participated. He often repeats the same sentiment, even in the same debate, but he has been braggadocious about enough things to create the interactive graphic at the top of this story, which uses direct quotes and removes any duplicate statements.

Most candidates would not be able to get away with such shameless self-promotion. They would not be able to assert that their awesomeness is the solution to complicated problems, like improving relations with foreign leaders.

But according to the polls, Trump is not just getting away with it; he's winning. And one reason might be that it plays into the narrative he's built for himself: that he's a larger-than-life figure who has the talent to solve the terrible problems caused by other people.

He tells us he is a good negotiator, that he knows how to put smart people around him, that he gets along with everyone, that he has the best temperament to be president. But how do we know this? The norm for most candidates would be to cite evidence. For Trump, he just tells us good things about himself.

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