The Vice Presidential Debate
What was your impression of last week's vice presidential debate?

The Vice Presidential Debate

On Wednesday, October 7, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris took the stage to support their running mates for the 2020 presidential election. Pence and Harris sat twelve feet apart on the stage and were separated by plexiglass for safety.

Discussing COVID-19

The first topic of the evening centered on the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died from the virus. Harris stated that the Trump administration has failed to respond appropriately to the pandemic. She emphasized the 210,000 people who have died in the United States. Pence defended the choice to ban restrict travel from China in January 2020 and said that scientists are hard at work to complete a vaccine. He accused Harris of undermining the public’s confidence in the steps being taken to fight the virus.

A Calmer Debate

After a rather angry and combative presidential debate the week before, [ADD URL of that post] this debate was calmer. But even so, it wasn’t cordial. Harris and Pence did little of the interruption and talking over one another that was so obvious between Biden and Trump. And political analysts felt that neither candidate fully answered the presented questions. The candidates stuck to their rehearsed talking points for the most part, and the debate moderator did not often follow up on the initial question.

Unanswered Questions

The two vice presidential hopefuls did challenge one another during the evening. Harris wanted Pence to explain how people with pre-existing medical conditions would be aided if the Supreme Court invalidated the Affordable Care Act. Pence never gave an answer. But Harris did not answer Vice President Pence’s suggestion that the Democrats would add additional justices to the Supreme Court. This “court-packing” tactic has been mentioned in the media recently. Some view it as a possible response by Democrats to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat and a way to prevent the Court tilting to more conservative legal interpretations.

Share What You Know If you watched the vice presidential debate last week, list the three main points that you took away from the broadcast. If you did not watch it, conduct some online research to find three summaries of the discussion to generate your list. Compare your lists with classmates and discuss as a group what you learned about the issues of this election.
David Martin


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