Let’s get this out of the way: Kamala Harris won last night.
There you go. That’s my column. Go read something else.
Just kidding! Thursday night, 10 Democratic candidates for president took to the stage in sunny Miami, Florida, to showcase themselves in their first debate appearances of the primary season.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how the candidates fared last night:
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
Everyone expected the spotlight to be on the clash between Sanders and Biden, the two frontrunners on stage.
Everyone was wrong.
Harris stole the show with a performance that was passionate, measured and, yes, presidential. She cut in at the right moments and dominated with the stage presence of a prosecutor.
Harris scored major points when she confronted Biden over his comments praising the civility of two segregationist senators and his past opposition to busing programs utilized in the 1970s to further integrate public schools.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Two moments in particular stand out for Mayor Buttigieg.
When he was pressed about why the South Bend Police Department has not hired more black officers, Buttigieg admitted, “I couldn’t get it done.” His sincerity and tact allowed the young mayor to walk away from a tricky issue relatively unscathed, although not all residents of South Bend were satisfied with his response.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Overall, Biden did ... OK.
He started strong, stuck to his positions throughout the night, and handled criticism from the other candidates fairly well.
But then came Harris.
Biden needs more support from party activists to solidify his frontrunner status, and defending his position against school integration — essentially on the basis of state’s rights — definitely isn’t the best way to do that.
Biden needs to stop the bleeding of support that had already started after the first night’s debate. If he keeps debating like he did last night, Biden’s last words of his defense against Harris may prove prophetic for the fate of his campaign:
“Anyway, my time’s up. I’m sorry.”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Sanders sounded stale. If you’ve ever heard him speak before, you didn’t miss anything new last night.
After a strong opening, Sanders more or less retreated from the stage, responding to every question with canned responses about income inequality.
Everyone else: Down the line
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) had a surprisingly strong showing.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) fought tooth and nail to get airtime and used that time to position herself as a strong advocate for women.
Andrew Yang barely got any speaking time and claims that his microphone was off for much of the debate.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) was mistaken for a reporter by venue security. That pretty much sums up his night.
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) really likes torch metaphors.
Marriane Williamson exuded big mystical orb energy.
Nick Hinman is a Junior from Olathe majoring in political science and philosophy.