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How Kamala Harris Wrangled Biden & Dominated the Democratic Debate

Showing off her prosecutorial panache, here’s all the times the Indian-&-Jamaican-origin Senator took charge.

Published
World
2 min read

Video Editors: Mohd Ibrahim & Abhishek Sharma

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Before the Democratic Debates, this was the totem pole:
Ex-vice president Joe Biden far ahead
Senator and leftist Bernie Sanders second
Senator and policy wonk Elizabeth Warren third, and
Senator and ex-attorney general of California Kamala Harris in fourth.

The first two Democratic Debates before the 2020 presidential election changed all that.

Here are the post-debate rankings now, according to CNN’s poll:

Joe Biden’s lead has narrowed to 5 points, but Kamala Harris is now a close second, outstripping both Warren and Sanders.

After the debate, Harris gained nine points while Biden lost 10, the poll says.

That shift probably has something to do with the way Kamala Harris pulled out her prosecutorial panache to take command of the second night of debates. From quieting noisy peers like a schoolteacher disciplining unruly children, to taking on frontrunner Joe Biden on his recent controversial comments, to challenging him on his record on ‘busing’ in the 1970s, Harris emerged from the debates shining.

What Is ‘Busing’?
Busing was the practice of taking black schoolchildren in schoolbuses to all-white schools in an attempt to undo racial segregation and enforce integration. 

‘Her’ Hand

When everybody still assumes the default for a president is male, Harris made a strong point by saying, “...I will ensure that this microphone, that the president holds in her hand...” – and the audience went wild.

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‘America Doesn’t Want a Food Fight’

Democratic candidates got into a bit of an argument as the moderator was trying to ask Harris a question, and no one could get a word in edge-wise... until Harris cut through with a stern, “Okay guys, you know what, America doesn’t want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”

Ouch.

Hitting Biden Where It Hurts – His Past

Zeroing in on Biden’s Achilles heel – his recent controversial comments about having worked with white segregationist senators early in his career, and his record of having opposed federal funds for busing – Harris made it personal.

She drew on her own experience as a child who was bused to integrated schools and turned her own disadvantage of being the only black woman in the running, into a weapon. She said there was little girl who was bused to school, and, “That little girl was me”. The line drew applause.

At another point, the two sparred again over the same issue, and Harris once again came out on top by sheer force of argument.

With the second round of Democratic debates set for the end of July, let’s see if Harris can keep the momentum going.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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