It turns out that Carly Fiorina was third in terms of speaking time at the debate. Why – aside from Jake Tapper’s hostile tone when he interacted with her – does it feel that she barely got enough time? Could it be that she handled the issues with a rapid-fire thoroughness that left many other candidates looking insubstantial or just foolish? The Commander in Chief – the one you trust with the nuclear codes and with keeping your kids safe – on that stage was Carly. But what really made her compelling was how genuine her anger was. Her words on Planned Parenthood would, and did, elicit a heartfelt thank you from anyone at all concerned with human life. And the way she framed it, linking the security of the nation to the character of the nation, made it clear that the character of the Commander in Chief is what defends both. On the individual level (the beating heart and kicking legs of a fetus about to have its brain “harvested”) and on a macro level (who you call in the Middle East and what you tell them).

It got to the point where her non-verbal reactions to comments (like Trump’s lame response to her perfect put-down but at various other points in the debate as well) drew the camera towards her. “What’s she going to say next?” began to crackle in the air, after she delivered multiple knock-out blows. Not necessarily against competitors – yes with Trump – but against the current conventional wisdom. Or the very construction of a question: the cute 10-dollar bill question was dismissed with clarity and force. She is no Margaret Thatcher, she is Carly Fiorina. And she could get into the political ring with Maggie herself, should the Iron Lady rise from the grave to debate with who may be her protege. Carly cuts through the nonsense, and people seem to be increasingly grateful for that. Trump cuts through the nonsense as well, but he brings a limousine full of his own nonsense to any debate or event as well. That’s Trump. Carly, on the other hand, does not waste a syllable, and leaves you grateful and hoping for more. Mic drop indeed.