It feels a little patronising to say, of Kamala Harris, that “a star is born”.
The California senator used to be the state’s attorney general.
But there are no two ways about it: her profile was undoubtedly raised during the Democrats’ debate in Miami.
At one point she was reportedly the top trending search on Google – in all of America.
Joe Biden entered as the candidate most Americans had heard of. He’s the frontrunner – well ahead of the pack in the polls. His rivals had a lot to gain, while Barack Obama’s vice president had a lot to lose.
Biden tried to use his experience – his decades-long record in public office.
But it came back to bite him in a charged exchange about race with a formidable Ms Harris.
It was about “busing” – the practice of driving children to desegregated public schools to increase diversity.
Speaking directly to Mr Biden, Ms Harris said: “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.”
She went on to challenge Mr Biden’s stance on the measure. He has been criticised for saying that he worked with segregationists earlier in his career to achieve things in the Senate.
He said there had been a “mischaracterisation of my position across the board: I did not praise racists. That is not true”.
He added that “everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights”.
And yet Ms Harris’s intervention was a searing personal yet universal moment that stole the show. It exemplified the view that Biden is yesterday’s man and out of touch with the new progressive wave.
It wasn’t Ms Harris’s only moment, either. She cut through cross-talk and bickering with an easy smile and an absolute zinger that even Mr Biden clapped her for.
She said that Americans do not want a “food fight”, but want to know that Democrats are “going to put food on the table”.
Bernie Sanders, who is second in the polls, brought his trademark angry passion, describing healthcare as a “human right”.
He is seeking to expand the cult status he achieved in the 2016 race. But, like Mr Biden, he may have a new rival to worry about.
Mr Biden was absent from the post-debate spin room, leaving Ms Harris to bask in the spotlight.
I asked if it’s going to take a woman like her to beat Donald Trump.
With a twinkle in her eye and fire in her belly she gave a firm “yes”.
There is a long way to go before that decision is made.
But she has gained that great intangible – momentum. The question now is how far it will carry her in this long, gruelling race.
Source: SKY NEWS