Last night’s Vice Presidential debate, voters have agreed, was much smoother sailing than last week’s First Presidential Debate. The topics and debates weren’t too out of hand and the moderator, Susan Page, controlled the stage much more professionally than Chris Wallace in the Presidential Debate. However, the event did not proceed without noticing some imperfections in both candidates. Here are a few examples:
Mike Pence is not as disciplined: Many times during the Vice Presidential debate, Pence was noted going over the allotted two minutes in order to deliver his remarks. Harris had also went over her time, but much less frequently. Harris went over about 4 times while Pence went over almost 10 times last night. This idea, to voters, presents “lack of discipline” and “inability to follow rules.” Political analysist Jim Clark explains this phenomenon: “These are professional politicians. Both of these candidates have prepped and gone over their speeches with everybody and they’re going to get them in, so I’m not sure it’s possible for anybody to control the debates”. Still, most voters would agree that each candidate should be given the time they were allotted, and Harris emerged victorious in that field.
Kamala Harris came off more condescending: In terms of attitude and being more warm to the American people, Pence was considered to be superior. At the beginning of the debate, Pence was noted saying “I want to thank the commission and the University of Utah for hosting this event. Mrs. Harris, its a privilege to be on the stage with you”. Harris, on answering her first question, had not stated anything more than “Thank you, Susan”. Moreover, when Pence had answered questions regarding taxes and the coronavirus, Harris could be seen snickering and murmuring under her breath. She had also interjected Pence by asserting the phrase “I’m talking.” Voters agreed that Pence was more warm and friendly while Harris came off as more condescending and scornful.
Pence is more vague and indirect: When Harris attacked the Trump administration for not addressing COVID-19 until March, Pence simply replied by saying “There is not one American that I don’t care about”. He was attempting to scapegoat many of the questions during the debate. Another case was when Harris had stated that Pence would ban fracking to which Pence simply replied, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts”. Overall, voters would agree that Harris is more direct and transparent about her response, while Pence was more opaque and general when providing responses.
Harris is more quick to blame others: Not only did Harris blame the Trump administration for the virus which originated in China, but she also attacked the administration on foreign policies. She states, “What we have seen with Donald Trump is that he has betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world”. She then adds, “[Trump] is not an honest man”. The debates given by Harris were more critiques about the President rather than society at hand. Pence was more general with the issues of society such as the spreading virus and the death of Kayla Muller.
Keeping these blemishes in mind amongst the candidates, it is difficult to say who won the debate. Sure, there is bias based on our political views, but each candidate should be seen based on not only the positives, but the negatives of their overall character. Should we elect a more disciplined but condescending woman who blames others or a friendly but less disciplined and more indirect man?