The Adults are Talking: The 2020 Vice Presidential Debate | Cami Dominguez
After the SNL-like presidential debate that took place Tuesday of last week, much anticipation was growing around the vice presidential debate between candidates Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. These debates are often overlooked during election season, however, given the political climate of the U.S. and quarantine leading people to find sources of entertainment, many people tuned in to the vice presidential debate, though many could have been a part of the viewership considering the chaos and uncertainty of the last one.
The debate started off simple and much more precautionary than the last as dividers between the candidates were placed and proper social distancing measures were taken; the formal tone set up a scene of hope for the coming arguments. Alas, since this is U.S. politics at the end of the day, the beginning question of what the Biden administration would do to deal with coronavirus shifted after Harris outwardly stated that Trump’s response was the “greatest failure of any presidential administration,” and after a few head shakes from Pence, the debate between the two began.
Objectively, one of the most notable things was that both candidates took on the true politician form of dodging questions without answering them straightforwardly, though Pence said so much yet so little, constantly defensive since the start of the debate, seems to only answer whenever it was convenient. When asked about what the Trump administration’s health care program included, Pence danced around it, eventually twisting the question into demanding Harris confirm whether Biden was planning on packing the Supreme Court if Amy Coney Barret was confirmed. To simplify, he started off the argument with something along the lines of “Yes, I am pro-life and I am not ashamed of it” to “Tell me, tell me now if you and Joe Biden will be packing the supreme court.”
Any emotion other than pettiness is rarely seen on the debate stage, so when Pence said “Senator, I want to thank you and Joe Biden for your expressions and genuine concern. And I want to congratulate you (…) on the historic nature of your nomination,” and Harris replied with a simple “Thank you,” it was a refreshing sight to see apposed to seeing two seventy-year-old men yelling and calling each other clowns and socialists for an hour and a half.
As for debate content, the Green New Deal was something that was of significant importance since Pence brought up Harris’ stance on fracking while she was running her campaign, which was that it should be put to a stop, multiple times throughout the discussion, but Harris had to clarify that Biden, like most democrats nowadays, was not against fracking (multiple times throughout the discussion). Given the capitalist system of this country, this did not come as much of a surprise but did cause a wave on Twitter of reassuring some independents of their stance on voting green party while some republicans were in shock of their previous misconception. Statements aside, Harris’ expressions were also criticized by some for being too condescending while others actually admired it as they felt it embodied the public liberal expressions. Harris also gave a new phrase that liberals will praise and paste on merch for weeks to come, which is no other than “I’m speaking” as a response to Pence’s unrelenting obstructions.
But we all know that the best part of debate nights lie within the realms of Twitter and if the trending hashtags of “#flygate” and “#pinkeyepence” don’t give you a general sense of what the happened, some top tier humor awaits you. While Pence was explaining his and Trump’s stance on systemic racism, one of the most notorious parts of the debate flew right onto Pence’s concrete hair; a fly. Of course, instead of listening to anything of relevance, Twitter went up in flames with everyone tweeting about the fly because, you know, priorities people. The fly stayed atop Pence’s hair for a good two whole minutes before departing, a truly heartbreaking moment for everyone to have seen.
We can all admit that this debate was only somewhat better than the one that we saw the Presidential nominees have. The adults left their kids at home and had a rather civil discussion in which people could actually learn about the policies that each party’s member stood, potentially affecting independent/moderate voters. Regardless of it all though, the fly was the clear winner of the Vice Presidential debate.