Tonight in Salt Lake City, Utah VP Mike Pence will be facing off against Senator Kamala Harris in what will be the first and only debate between the nominee’s running mates. Many are expecting this debate to not have the fireworks that the Trump Biden debate brought last week and it should be more of a civil, substantive conversation. This is important and a unique way to get an insight into how each administration would/will continue to function and try to govern in the best way possible.
When last week showed the dichotomy between Trump and Biden, I expect tonight to do much of the same. The difference is the roles will almost be reversed for each side. Kamala will want to show that she and the Biden team have energy and ideas while Pence is more of a mellow voice of reason for the Trump side.
I would anticipate Pence to portray a calmness that can clearly articulate many of the accomplishments that the Trump administration has achieved in the last 3 years. The former governor of the Hoosier state has a big responsibility to paint the picture of the Trump presidency not as one of chaos, but one of prosperity. He will look to show that the President has worked well with everyone who is willing to work with him and has led the country to some of the best economic accomplishments in our history.
He will most likely be challenged hardest on the coronavirus and as the lead of the COVID19 Task Force, Pence should have answers with reasoning, citing scientific and economic evidence, to defend everything. Maybe these answers won’t be sufficient to some, but they will still likely be answered and not dodged as Pence tries to send a positive and optimistic message for where the country is going and why the Trump administration deserves 4 more years. Pence has shown he’s a skilled debater and can handle his feet against the fire.
Kamala will use COVID to try and play offense for most of the debate. As we saw in the Democratic primaries, the Senator is significantly better when attacking than when having to answer for her own record and ideas. With most of the conversation likely geared towards this issue, Kamala’s prosecutorial skills will be on display. Hopefully she doesn’t use the night to look for a “moment” but rather carve at Pence with logic and reason in how we should go about the COVID response. It will be Pence’s prerogative to flip the conversation and challenge Harris on how she and Biden will change, improve, or fix the problem at stake.
Kamala will also likely have to answer about many of the policy disagreements that she has with Biden as his running mate. She has stated various policy differences from what Biden holds and people will be curious how malleable her beliefs are and what she will try to push for the “far left” in positions that she has held before. Pence will look to expose that Kamala may be the one actually pulling the strings in the administration. He can try to further fracture the democrat base by having her disavow progressive ideals, or he can fracture the ticket in where the potential President and VP stand on multiple issues.
This can also be further pushed when the candidates talk about the protests and unrest in the country. Kamala has stated that she is for “reimagining the police” and has openly fundraised to post bail for rioters and criminals.
Pence will strongly push the law and order message and look to challenge Harris for not immediately condemning violence and maybe even helping contribute to some of it. Kamala will likely be ready to answer for these accusations and will probably have a prepared response.
The same should be the case for questions about the supreme court and the filibuster. The Biden campaign still hasn’t given a concrete answer to court packing or ending the legislative filibuster and I expect Pence to drive this point home. He, unlike Trump, has a much calmer temperament and is more willing to sit in silence and let Kamala ramble trying to dodge the questions. I’m sure he’ll do the same in regards to the confirmation process and even bring up Kamala’s statements during the Kavanaugh hearings.
I’m sure there will be some more to come out of tonight’s debate and I’m excited that there will likely be a lot more substance and civility than last week’s chaos. Susan Page is slated to be the moderator and hopefully she does a better job than Chris Wallace last week. I think these 2 will be easier to handle than Trump and Biden.
Tonight I believe there is a lot more pressure on Harris because last time she was in a position of popularity in the primary debates, she blew it rather quickly. It will be interesting to see how she looks to position herself in a Biden administration.
But, in total the VP debates don’t play too much importance in the grand scheme of the race. I doubt barring some type of meltdown from either side for this to make much of a difference in regards to the polls and media reaction.
There will be thoughts to follow coming tomorrow and I’m looking forward to possibly sending out some tweets tonight.