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Heightened Importance Placed on Vice Presidential Debate

Taylor Barry

Posted on October 6, 2020 19:23

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With Trump's diagnosis, the Vice Presidential debate enters the forefront of importance and could be the driving factor for the undecided voter.

In a darkly comedic plot fitting only for this year, who would have guessed our greatest unifying moment as a nation would have been birthed from a meth laden sex cult built around a tiger zoo. Six months down the road our country’s inability to compromise across political lines has left yet another election with a vote for the lesser of two evils.

But President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis presents new challenges in the last month before November 3. While typically overlooked there is newfound importance placed upon the Vice Presidential debate on October 7. Growing concerns over the rapid spread of COVID-19 within Trump’s circle could mean this will be the last in-person debate, potentially the last one at all. The implications of this being the last debate means all eyes now turn towards Mike Pence and Kamala Harris and their ability to persuade key swing voters.

Decorum between candidates will be at the forefront as the Presidential debate rivaled that of two toddlers fighting over the same toy. Harris will need to show voters she is both knowledgeable and stable to fight fears of Biden’s capability and potential deteriorating mental health. Many experts applaud Pence’s ability to debate, agreeing he won against Tim Kaine in 2016. But with Trump’s laissez-faire attitude towards his own diagnosis, Pence will need to convincingly defend this while relaying the continued importance of health precautions.

Pence will have to cover his bases, not only with current concerns; he will be expected to give specifics on the Republican plan for a new healthcare system. Despite ending Obamacare, Trump’s only information relayed have been buzz words to appease voters like lower premiums and pre-existing conditions. Additionally, Pence will need to lay the groundwork for a plan for economic restoration in a pandemic world. 

Harris will be held accountable for the concerns of some of the Democratic platforms. Based on her own background as Attorney General of California, the senator will need to be explicit in how they will implement police reform. Biden has been somewhat unclear on changes to fracking policies and implementation of the New Green Deal that Harris needs to define.

If this is to be the last debate, the responsibility will fall onto Pence and Harris to answer further concerns. Issues not brought up in the first debate include developing a new economic relationship with China and lessening U.S. dependency on goods, addressing increasing crime rates in major cities, and future pandemic prevention and emergency plans.

While Pence has a proven record, the primary debates proved Harris is just as capable, and targeting the Trump administration’s inconsistencies will be key. And without surprise, Pence will need to be careful not to seem dated or sexist when responding to Harris, but she will be under scrutiny by many if she relies too heavily on her gender as a tool. The candidates cannot enter the hall without extensive evidence to support political reform and civilly represent their respective parties.

Taylor Barry

Posted on October 6, 2020 19:23

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