Vice Presidential Debate 2020: Kamala Harris' 'Momala' avatar might throw Mike Pence off his game
Her supporters have already latched onto the nickname given to her by her stepchildren - 'Momala', which not only rhymes with her first name but is Yiddish for 'little mama'
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris known to have a prosecutorial demeanor which makes her a definite threat for her opponent, Vice President Mike Pence. But there is another 'mom-like' side of her that might leave Pence scratching his head on Wednesday, October 7, the night of their one and only face-off at Salt Lake City, Utah, before the 2020 election .
Her supporters have already latched onto the nickname given to her by her stepchildren - "Momala," which, apart from rhyming with her first name, is Yiddish for "little mama." Harris has a stern, scolding mother-like demeanor that was even highlighted in a 'Saturday Night Live' spoof last weekend of the first presidential debate. In the sketch, Maya Rudolph portraying the role of Harris instructed her running mate Joe Biden (Jim Carrey) and President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) to behave themselves, before offering them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She is even known to have unleashed her 'Momala' persona during the Democratic Primary debates when she admitted that she was disappointed by her current running mate's record on healing the racial divide in the nation.
According to body language expert and psychologist Dr. Reneé Carr, who is also a political and corporate advisor, Pence might be in trouble if Harris decides to use her maternal instincts against the incumbent vice president. Apparently one of the go-to facial expressions that Harris gives off when she enters her 'Momala' mode can be easily recognized by most mothers who are used to getting their kids to get the record right. "When she gets frustrated, her nose flares, so you can tell that she's getting irritated — which is another mom move. When I see her being emotional, she does stereotypical mom-based movements," Carr told The List.
However, Harris has a tendency to quickly check herself and tone that side of her down when she is facing off against her opponent now. "If she catches herself doing that subconsciously, you'll see her at the very next time probably amplifying the enunciation of her words to try to cover the, oh, I went back into my little 'around the way girl' mode for a second," the expert added.
Meanwhile, not many women might necessarily dig Harris' 'Momala' avatar. "Not every female wants to see a female who's just so pro-femininity or so pro-female," Carr pointed out. "Not every minority wants you to focus on just minority issues. So before, when she was opposing Joe Biden, she would say, 'You got to go, Joe,' and talking more of a rough language. And if she were to do that, that would not fare well for her."
Against a confident and aggressive Harris, it is highly likely that Pence will take on a more deferential role. This is would partly arise from the fact that he stands in contrast to a more boisterous running mate. Meanwhile, with Pence sometimes referring to his own wife as "mother" there is no telling if Harris' mom-like approach might throw him off his game. Regardless, he is bound to be respectful toward Harris during the debate.
"What I would expect from him is for him [is to use] demonstrative body language to show that he is giving way to his opponent. He may go like, 'Sure. Kamala, what do you think?' He'll do this as a way to show that 'I'm giving you the floor, I'm being respectful,'" Carr explained. "And he will probably use language — 'if I could just say something here' — so that he's showing that 'I'm going to say something, but I'm not being too aggressive.'"