The moment I saw that vicious glint in her eyes, I knew it was over.
It was an absolute breath of fresh air to see a return to form — the substance in conversation, the pirouetting away from questions like a prima ballerina. I feel like we’ve all become so numb to the usual rhetorical bloodbath that has become modern debates. President Trump’s jab at Beau Biden's history with drug addiction is the low that we have come to expect.
So to see Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) tear apart the Trump administration’s policies rather than stoop to ad hominem?
It felt like a breath of clean, cool, fresh air.
I’d like to preface this article with a shout out to the moderator Susan Page of USA Today. She tried to enforce the rules, and that is appreciated. I also would like to applaud Senator Harris and Vice President Michael Pence for doing their best to remain civil tonight.
The debate was full of a lot of highs.
Policy wise, I got a rush from Senator Harris calling out the Trump administration for taking out the words, “science,” and “climate change,” from government websites. It goes hand in hand with the administration’s lack of regard for statistics and science on the whole.
Rhetoric wise, when Harris said, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking,” that was absolutely glorious. She really, really leaned into her prosecutorial instincts tonight — targeting flaws big and small and utilizing them to rip holes into Pence’s armor — and boy did they serve her well.
Speaking of Vice President Pence, his answer on Breonna Taylor was disgusting. When referring to whether or not she got justice, he claimed that he, “has faith in our justice system.” He then went out of his way to deem claims about the American criminal justice system being systematically racist as, “insulting.”
I only wish Harris had more time to shred him for that comment.
It’s worth noting that some of Page’s questions were very loaded. Circling back to the Breona Taylor question, it felt like a setup for Pence to expose himself as a denier of systematic racism.
It also goes without saying that Harris didn’t climb victory mountain without her fair share of falls.
The first that comes to mind is Pence calling her out on wanting to ban fracking. In response, she walked it back, claiming neither she nor former Vice President Biden advocate for that. Those that remember her early campaigning days — back when she was a candidate — will recall that she did call for such things. This was a painful stumble to watch, but the queen recovered her crown nonetheless.
The second is with the final moments of the debate. When discussing the unity of american citizens, Vice President Pence shone through with a calm, powerful message about how even after moments of heated debate, Americans come together and help one another. Meanwhile, Harris gunned for yet another Biden-Harris plug.
Despite her many falls, Senator Harris slayed. I think calling her performance tonight, “fiery,” or, “on fire,” is incorrect.
Kamala Harris is an ice cold woman. When you remain cool but throw in a little bit of anger, passion, what have you, you become ice cold. She remained that way the whole night through. I loved it.
Harris won tonight, but there are three honorable mentions I’d like to point out.
One: The Fly. That bug managed to distract the entire audience, producing a round of laughs. The memes that followed were priceless. For that, the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series goes to The Fly (because at the end of the day, debates these days are pure comedy, right?)
Two: The #KHive. This hashtag developed during the democratic primary, when Harris’ biggest twitter stans rallied around her to fend of racist and sexist criticisms of the California Senator. Tonight, it’s trending on twitter once again. You can best believe I’m the #KHive’s newest member.
Three: Civility. After a particularly disappointing debate last week, seeing both candidates do their best to remain civil made it all the more an enjoyable experience. It allowed room for policy and substance to shine where cruel rhetoric and clownery usually lies.