HomeBad Ass AsiansKamala Harris stands out in second night of Democrats' presidential debate
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Kamala Harris stands out in second night of Democrats’ presidential debate

Kamala Harris at second Democratic presidential debate

Views from the Edge

Everybody thought that Sen. Bernie Sanders would attack the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, but Biden was caught flatfooted when the attack came from good friend Sen. Kamala Harris.

Unlike the previous night, in this set of 10 Democratic candidates there was a clear cut winner and that was the Indian American from California.

On the topic of the state of race relations, Harris outshouted her peers  talking over each other and demanded to be heard. She looked directly at her friend Joe Biden and with the slightest of tremors in her voice. 


“I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris said as she looked past Sanders directly at Biden. “And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But I also believe, and it is personal, and I was actually very — it was hurtful, to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing.”

“And you know,” she continued, “there was a little girl in California, who was a part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she was bused to school everyday. And that was little girl was me.”

Moments later, her engagement team tweeted out a photo of that “little girl in California.”

Harris also scored points when the other candidates were trying to speak over each other, and like the only adult in the room, Harris spread her hands out and said,  “Hey guys, you know what, America does not want to witness a food fight. 

“They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”

The remarks were followed by loud applause, including from several of the other  candidates.

On immigration, Harris said with emotion and conviction: “I will release children from cages, I will get rid of the private detention centers and I will ensure that this microphone that the President of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up.”

Applause broke out when she used the word “her.”

Andrew Yang at Second Democratic Presidential Debate

Andrew Yang seemed stiff and a little awed for the moment, being the first Asian American man to be on a presidential debate stage on national TV.

When the subject veered from the economy, he seemed uncertain and out of his element. Of all the candidates who clamored to be heard, Yang held back, (politely) did not interrupt and as a result, he had the least airtime of the ten candidates on stage. Even feel-good guru Marianne Williamson spoke up more even as the twitterverse couldn’t understand what she was talking about.

Yang has already qualifed for the next debate in July. He’s got to learn to be more assertive and not speak so fast when explaining how he would fund his Freedom Dividend, giving  $1000 a month to everyone over age 18. He needs to let his words sink in like he’s speaking to fifth-grader.

Here’s how Google saw the debate:

Democratic Presidential Debate2 Minutes spoken

Biden had the most time speaking because he was always being attacked and under debate rules, he’s allowed to respond to the criticism.

Below, because of Harris dominating performance, she was the subjectline being searched across most of the country.

As the debate progressed and Harris scored point after point, interest among the online watchers grew. Willliastamson’s also had a good showing but that’s deceptive. A little searching will show that most of traffic was due to the online jokes about her responses..

Other observations from the debate:

  • The Thursday debate had the oldest candidates of Sanders and Biden, the youngest represented by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigeig and California’s Rep. Eric Swalwell. At times, Biden and Sanders looked and sounded like two grouchy old men.
  • The generation gap was never so clear marked by Swalwell quoting Biden who said in a California speech that it was “time to pass the torch.” Swalwell used the line effective. “If we’re going to solve the issues of automation, pass the torch,” the California lawmaker continued. “If we’re going to solve the issues of climate chaos, pass the torch. If we’re going to solve the issue of student loan debt, pass the torch. If we’re going to end the gun violence for families who are fearful of sending their kids to school, pass the torch.”
  • Swalwell tried to kneecap Buttigeig when the South Bend mayor said that he failed to resolve the recent racial divide in his town, exacerbated by the shooting of a black man by a white officer who had turned off his camera. Swallwell shouted from across the room, “You should fire the police chief!”
  • The three women apparently learned from the first night’s debate and didn’t hold back when the men tried to take over the conversation. Harris, Williamson and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand  repeatedly tried to butt in in order to get stage time. 
  • Yang chose to not wear a tie which the commentators couldn’t help but point out as if he had committed a serious breech of protocol and wasn’t serious about running for president. Personally, I think the importance of the tie is overblown.
  • Harris deft attacks vs. Biden also sends an image of what she might do when confronting the similarly aged Donald Trump.

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