Something more presidential


photo by Lawrence Jackson of Flickr

Vice Presidential debate held on October 7th in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Seeing as how the presidential debate last week simulated two toddlers fighting over a toy, my standards were low for the vice presidential debate. The vice presidential debate on October 7th proved that the nominees act more mature and composed than both their presidential counterparts combined. Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris hosted an actual debate that was structured with civil discussion and, for the most part, kept on track. 

Many were interested to see how the two debates would compare. At times both candidates spoke over moderator Susan Page, ignoring her and going over their allotted times, Pence more than Harris. That said, it was still far more timely and stuck to the debate forum.

Harris has a track record of being able to confront issues and ask tough questions as she is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and not too long ago grilled Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination hearings. Though, it seemed that Pence’s skills were severely unanticipated and underrated, as he gave several strong responses with substantial evidence. Pence almost used the same strategy as Biden: the charming, midwestern “people person” act, whereas Harris tended to act more cynical and fed-up with the whole situation. No one really expected such strong political rhetoric from Pence. 

As for actual content, both parties disappointed yet again. Harris’ best moments were the first 20 minutes of the debate where she attacked the Trump administration for their management of coronavirus and policies, while Pence failed to steadily defend the president’s actions here as well as most of the debate. Harris’ demeanor was also at its peak here, with a calm and collected attitude and thorough justification of her arguments. Harris highlighted the Trump administration’s failure to find a working healthcare policy, and recognized that in the future COVID-19 would qualify as a preexisting condition and anyone that has contracted the virus would most likely be denied healthcare due to that fact.

 Pence’s best moments were his steady attacks on fracking and the Green New Deal, which Harris co-sponsors. He smoothly integrated research in his arguments, something that neither of the presidential nominees can say. Some of Pence’s high points also included pointing out Biden’s connections with China more substantially than Trump ever has, and drawing attention to violent protests when asked about his thoughts on systemic racism. 

Although Harris and Pence may have redeemed the mishandled presidential debate, the general consensus from political strategists and analysts everywhere is that this did not change anyone’s minds or votes. The vice presidential debate proved to be much more cohesive, which might help out undecided voters far more than the catastrophe that was last week’s debate. 

And if a more civil discussion did not capture your attention, there’s always that fly that sat on Pence’s head for two minutes.