The vice presidential debate and its complexities


Courtesy of: USA Today

Butting heads over different political ideologies

Christopher Molina, Staff Writer

Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate between Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence ran differently from the chaotic and unorthodox presidential debate a week before.

The 2020 Vice Presidential Debate which occurred on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah, functioned in a more respectable, calm and collected fashion compared to the presidential debate, despite the candidates spending most of their time filibustering.

Harris and Pence butted heads over their differences in political ideology on a wide range of issues, such as pandemic response, climate change, abortion rights, taxes and racism.

Harris claimed that President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic was the, “greatest failure of any presidential administration.” the vice president replied to claim that former Vice President Joe Biden and her plan “looks a little like plagiarism.”

She also brought up how the president failed to condemn white supremacists and Pence replied, “President Trump has Jewish grandchildren” and that “Trump respects and cherishes all of the American people.”

The vice president claimed that Biden and her plans to reduce climate change would “crush American energy, would increase the energy costs of American families and their homes, and literally would crush American jobs.”

The Vice Presidential Debate was moderated by Susan Page,  journalist and Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today. From the debate, Page hoped for a discussion that was informative for voters in the upcoming election.

“I hope that voters who watched it thought it helped them decide who has the policies they support,” Page said. “Who has the leadership characteristics that they want to see. I hope it helped voters. That’s what I hope. So, you tell me if it was successful.”

The debate was less disordered than the presidential debate, but Page still faced Pence talking over her, similar to how he did in the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate with Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia four years ago.

According to BBC, he interrupted the moderator and Harris six and 10 times respectively for a total of 16 interruptions. Harris interrupted Pence five times.

Compared to the first U.S. Presidential Debate of 2020, there were less interruptions in the vice presidential debate. The president interrupted 71 times while Biden interrupted 22 times, according to the Washington Post.

There was also differences in how they controlled the debate stage. Safety precautions were put in place, including plexi glass around the vice presidential candidates and a requirement for all participants to social distance and wear masks.

Some highlights of the presidential debate included Trump failing to denounce white supremacists, Biden calling him a racist and telling him to “shut up,” and the president claiming he most likely will not accept the results of the election if he loses.

Throughout the debate, moderator Chris Wallace seemed to lose control, which was new to him as a veteran.

“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” Wallace said the New York Times last Wednesday. “I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did.”