You don’t have to be a die hard fan of The View to know about Meghan McCain and Joy Behar’s volcanic feud. Throughout Season 22, the passionate co-hosts traded barbs left and right, and their heated fights often made headlines (the “bitch” incident of 2019 shall live in infamy). The ABC daytime staple happily sets up the women as political adversaries, but that isn’t actually the case: it’s progressive co-host Sunny Hostin who sits opposite McCain on the political spectrum. Hostin may not be as flashy (or as loud) as Behar, but episode after episode, she’s proven herself to be a worthy adversary for the conservative firebrand.

In terms of The View‘s political spectrum, Hostin sits at the far left, while McCain sits towards the right (with co-host Abby Huntsman slightly further to her right). Behar and moderator Whoopi Goldberg fall more towards the middle, and guest co-host Ana Navarro, a Republican, finds herself sandwiched between Goldberg and McCain. Of course, on a national scale, all six women lean towards the center (some more than others) — they do work for a major broadcast network, after all — but within the show itself, each co-host offers a distinct perspective to viewers, and they do so with varying degrees of intensity.Photos: ABC; Illustration: Dillen Phelps

While Hostin may not approach her duties with as much fervor as Behar (few people can crack jokes about Trump’s hair for a full hour), she’s still one of The View‘s more charismatic co-hosts. From reality TV plot lines to appropriate room service behavior to politics, the ABC legal analyst is always game to discuss the Hot Topics thrown her way, but more importantly, she’s willing to stand by her position, no matter what the reaction may be.

Often, that position is far more progressive than that of her fellow co-hosts, and a result, Hostin has established herself as a reliable representative of leftist thought since joining the show in 2016. Whether she’s arguing for cash reparations for African-Americans — a question she’s asked every single presidential hopeful on-air — advocating for healthcare reform, or explaining the racist history of American housing policy, the co-host comes armed with facts, lived experience, and a ton of empathy. No, she doesn’t identify as a Democratic Socialist, but she and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agree on a whole damn lot.

With that in mind, it’s interesting that The View has established Behar, not Hostin, as McCain’s foil. When it comes down to it, Behar and McCain agree on a variety of issues: they both support Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, they both believe that Nancy Pelosi is right not to impeach President Trump (this is a more recent Behar decision), and they both believe that Democratic “cannibalization” will ultimately hurt the party in the next election.

On these issues and more, Hostin and McCain couldn’t be more different, and that’s what makes their fights so riveting. While the women may not fight as often, or as brazenly, as McCain and Behar, their blow-ups come from a place of real passion — viewers are watching two conflicting ideologies butt heads in real time. In perhaps their biggest fight of Season 22, McCain exploded at Hostin during a discussion about late-term abortion. “I need to push back on that,” said Hostin in late February, after her co-host defended a Republican-sponsored bill to protect “abortion survivors” (it failed in the Senate). McCain barely let her get a word in, and she yelled about “infanticide” and “doing away with the human race” as Hostin spoke. “Can I just finish for one second?” asked Hostin, clearly frustrated after a full minute of audible scoffing.

While Behar may have (nay, would have) traded barbs with McCain, that’s not Hostin’s style; instead, she stayed calm, kept the data up-front, and supported her position with personal experience. This is what she was trained to do as a prosecutor, but in an era of viral meltdowns, it’s become a rare commodity. And of course, it prevents The View from turning into The Meghan McCain Show.

The ABC daytime show prides itself on being “The Most Important Political Show on TV,” as proclaimed by The New York Times, and much of that has to do with the understated Sunny Hostin vs. Meghan McCain feud. But if The View wants to continue to capture the ideological battles playing out every day in America, particularly as we head into the 2020 election, that conflict is going to need to come to the forefront. Trust me, Sunny Hostin can handle it.