If Carly Fiorina is elected, it won’t be because of her sex.

For more than 25 years, Republicans have been looking for the next Ronald Reagan. After last week’s debate at the Reagan Library, Republicans might have instead found our Margaret Thatcher.

Consider what syndicated columnist Cal Thomas wrote about Fiorina in a profile of her back in April:

Fiorina is impressive. Whether she can win the nomination, or perhaps the number two spot (which she refuses to talk about) we’ll know soon enough. But watch her in the coming debates and see if you don’t notice a little Margaret Thatcher in her. Like Thatcher, Fiorina is tough and smart.

Thomas’s words proved to be prophetic. Carly Fiorina stood out on that debate stage much like Thatcher stood out among Britain’s Tories when she wrested the leadership of the Conservative Party from Edward Heath forty years ago. In so doing, she proved that her performance at last month’s GOP under-card debate was no fluke. She put the Republican Party and America on notice by turning in a performance that was assertive, bold, and confident.

Of course, the most memorable moment of that three hour plus debate was Fiorina’s response to Donald Trump’s now infamous comments about her face. She looked at him directly and said, “Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly in what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” She then turned away from him and stared at the camera with ice in her eyes. At that moment, she put a dagger through what was left of his heart. All Trump could do was to say, “I think she has a beautiful face, and I think she’s a beautiful woman.” He said it as if he was a petulant child who had been scolded by his mother, but Fiorina was having none of it. Fiorina didn’t send Trump to bed without his supper, but she gave him a very cold plate.

Yet Fiorina shone plenty throughout debate despite Jake Tapper’s repeated efforts to ignore her when she wanted to speak. While all Republican candidates have spoken out against the Planned Parenthood videos, Fiorina invoked them to throw down the gauntlet to President Obama and Hillary Clinton. “Anyone who has watched this video tape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes,” said Fiorina, “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” The mainstream media immediately challenged the veracity of her statement. But with those two sentences, Fiorina forced the mainstream media to cover a story they have been ignoring for months.

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