Following last week’s US presidential talks between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, many Americans had hoped that the Vice Presidential talks between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris last night would be a more sophisticated affair.
As debate moderator Susan Page warned at the outset: “We need an active dialogue. But Americans deserve civil debate. ”
In this case, 90 minutes was not a one-off disappointment. It was infinitely more polite, without the aggression and chaos of the first presidential debate.
However, the extraordinary events that have unfolded since last week – Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis and hospitalization – have shaped the evening.
Plexiglas, who split the candidates while sitting at two tables in Salt Lake City, may be the dynamic of this presidential election, which has dominated American political life this year.
Surprisingly, the first part of the discussion focused on the corona virus.
Harris presented his experience as a prosecutor against the Trump presidency as they acted systematically through the facts surrounding the corona virus – 210,000 Americans died, one in seven became ill, and many employees were treated as “sacrifice workers.” They blamed Trump and Pence as the head of the Corona Virus Task Force – “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.”
Pence was trying to defend the indefinable in many ways. “Our nation has gone through a challenging time,” he said. “From day one, President Trump has put the health of the country first,” he said, reiterating that the decision to end the trip to China had saved “countless lives.” When Pence spoke of the need to respect the goodwill of the American people, Harris retorted: “When you tell the American people the truth, you respect them.”
Pence became a little stronger as this discussion shifted from the corona virus. As expected, he sought to portray Harris as an instrument of the far left, citing articles in the Senate that described her as more liberal than Bernie Santers. Focusing on his Senate record, he was one of 10 senators who voted against the renewed naphtha trade deal known as the USMCA because it did not go far enough on climate change.
While this may appease left-wing members of the Democratic Party who were concerned about Harris’ more focused record in his pre-Senate career, Pence’s critique – “You put your radical environmental agenda ahead of American work” – is true for many. Americans.
As such, he was more familiar with the economy. After a lengthy description from Harris of Biden’s planned tax reform, Pence looked at the camera and gave one of his best comments of the night. “You heard Kamala Harris tell you – one day Joe Biden is going to raise your taxes.”
When the poll shows that voters still value Republicans when it comes to dealing with the economy, this will resonate with many voters. However, Harris’ argument that the American people need to know about Trump’s taxes was well presented. “It’s good to know who the Commander-in-Chief is indebted to,” she said.
Overall, it was less than Harris expected – perhaps the senator’s conscious strategy. She was best known for her confrontational moments during the Democratic primary period, when she interrogated Supreme Court nominee Brett Cavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr, and on some occasions she stopped calling Pence, and without a moment’s hesitation she turned around and said: “I’m still talking.” Since Joe Biden was far ahead in the poll, her strategy was to play it safe. Whatever the motivation, Pence has repeatedly been seen as interfering with Harris, a dynamic that is unlikely to go down well with female voters.
Overall, Wednesday night’s discussion between voters is unlikely to have much of an impact on Dial. Based on the structure of the discussion, both candidates were allowed to ignore the questions, mainly because the moderator failed to follow the follow-up questions.
Similarly, the unsubstantiated claims went unquestioned – for example, Pence’s irrational claim that if swine flu had been as deadly as the corona virus when Joe Biden was vice president, two million American lives would have been lost.
At another stage of the debate, both candidates were able to avoid answering the question of what their state should do about the abortion system if Roy Wade overturns the Supreme Court ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion. Similarly, Pence declined to say whether his health policy would protect people with pre-existing conditions, while Harris again declined to say whether Democrats would link the Supreme Court to liberal justices. Even more worrying is that Pence is not committed to a peaceful transfer of power after the election.
A key subset of the discussion was that the American public has the opportunity to assess the potential of two people who could become Commander-in-Chief in the coming years.
The 2020 election is more risky than the previous vice presidential race. Whichever presidential candidate wins on November 3 – whether Trump or Biden will be the oldest elected US president – is more crucial than a vice presidential election.
Overall, 90 minutes went by slowly – the most dramatic moment of the night was when a fly settled on the head of a nice two minute pen. Wednesday night may not have the fireworks of the first presidential debate, but at times the 90-minute debate dragged on. It has in many ways reached the old days of U.S. politics where political debates were boring. That’s a good thing considering the quality and presidential decor under Trump.
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