I wouldn’t say Harris wowed. There weren’t a lot of zingers. But she hit every last point the campaign could have asked for. Just methodically. Killing the ACA, Charlottesville, the horrific failure of the COVID response. She didn’t really care about Mike Pence. She was there to make a case against Donald Trump. And she did.
Would it shift the direction of the campaign? No. If Biden and Harris were behind it would be nice to see but it’s not a game changer. But they don’t need a game changer. They needed a performance that locked down a lead that is already in place and confirmed the themes they want at the center of the campaign conversation. They got it. She hit the points they wanted and in ways Joe Biden couldn’t.
What stood out for me was the way that Pence ignored the moderator’s cues to stop talking — it’s like he was one of those animatronic statues at Disneyland who is programmed to talk — and his rather dismissive mansplaining; I’m pretty sure there were a lot of women who recognized that pattern.
And then there’s the fly.
Aside from that, it was a good night for Ms. Harris, and that was all she needed.