Harris’s Cynical Tone Gave Pence the Edge in the Vice Presidential Debate

Harris's Cynical Tone Gave Pence the Edge in the Vice Presidential Debate

The first (and only) vice presidential debate concluded on Oct. 7. This debate was way more calmed down in comparison to the circus that was the first presidential debate, and it was also good to see that the moderator enforced the rules a bit more. Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris both had good talking points and actually debated each other, but they both dodged serious questions.

The first issue was Covid-19. Harris started off the debate by bringing up the same talking points that Biden brought up during the first debate, such as casualties, the economy and the Biden/Harris Covid-19 recovery plan. Frankly, Pence actually had a good response to this, pointing out that the president banned flights from China while Biden called him xenophobic for doing so. 

Pence also pointed out that over two million people would have died had the economy not been shut down, and perhaps one of the best moments of the night was when Pence told Harris to “stop playing politics with people’s lives” when it came to accepting a vaccine. Pence also hit back hard by saying that the Biden/Harris Covid plan was very similar to what was already being done by the Trump administration and that it almost sounded like plagiarism.

Pence really filled the gap on the issue of Covid-19, which was a weakness for Trump in the first debate. This, in my opinion, is the stark contrast between Pence and Harris. Pence was hired in order to strengthen Trump’s weaknesses on the issues, while Harris was hired to fill a race and gender quota. Also, Harris was totally unprepared for Pence’s class and politeness, and when she attacked Pence with her “excuse me” and “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking” sneers, it just made her seem off-putting and cynical. Pence showed respect to her, while she attacked him for no reason. If Harris and Pence were on the ticket as frontrunners, Pence would definitely have an edge.

On the issue of the economy, Harris repeatedly denied that she supported the Green New Deal, even though she sponsored it when she was in the Senate. She strayed away from the issue of the economy and moved to healthcare, claiming that Trump and Pence’s healthcare plan would get rid of pre-existing condition coverage, even though Pence repeatedly said that he and Trump would protect pre-existing conditions.

As was said before, both candidates dodged questions — it’s a fact. But the moderator’s bias can be easily pointed out. I timed one of Pence’s monologues, and despite him being allowed two minutes to speak uninterrupted, the moderator started interrupting him at one minute and 34 seconds. Meanwhile, she allowed Harris to speak 70 seconds beyond her time limit at one point.

I believe that Harris’s stances on the economy compared to Biden’s will cause a bigger ideological issue within the Democratic Party, making a power struggle between traditional center-left liberals and left-wing social Democrats inevitable. Biden has denied wanting to put a Green New Deal in effect, while Harris silently embraces its policies.

As for the GOP, Pence’s staunch conservative stances will surely win over traditional GOP voters that have been skeptical of Trump, but Trump also needs to have more conservative views if he wants to win big in the traditionally conservative suburbs.

This debate didn’t really turn many heads, but it can give voters an idea of what the 2024 election might look like.