Last week, Quaker Campus Staff Writer Angélica Escobar predicted that Senator Kamala Harris would have the upper-hand for the Vice-Presidential debate. Following the debate on Oct. 7, a number of CNN contributors agree. Granted, plenty also agree that the Vice-Presidential debate did not do much in terms of potentially influencing the vote of the people. Even watching the key moments from the debate did not provide much context about what the Trump administration and former President Joe Biden and Sen. Harris plan to do for the country. It is quite telling that a couple of the most talked about moments from the night were Sen. Harris’s inability to keep a poker face while Vice President Pence was speaking and the fly that clung to Pence’s head for a few minutes. Clearly their words did not resonate much with the American people.
Regardless, the debate went pretty much as expected. Harris has a history of strong debates (very telling, with how many notes she scribbled down as Pence was speaking) and a lot to work with when it comes to tearing the Trump administration down. Escobar predicted that Harris could and should bring up a number of things: Trump’s failure to accurately report and tendency to downplay COVID-19, Trump’s refusal to denounce White supremacy, the conspiracy theories Trump created against former President Barack Obama, the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and the fact that Trump is full of lies and empty promises. Harris did, in fact, bring up every one of these points, even if only briefly.
The debate (with screen protectors for Harris and Pence, as well as masks and COVID-19 testing for audience members, in light of Trump’s diagnosis) started off with Moderator Susan Page of USA Today’s questions about COVID-19 and the U.S. death rates related to the pandemic. Harris called this the “greatest failure” of a Presidential administration in the country’s history. Pence claimed that Trump told the American people everything he knew about the virus, and that the death rates were inevitable. “President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health,” said Pence, but is that not a bit difficult to do if the American people are uninformed? “You respect the American people when you tell them the truth. You respect the American people when you have the courage to be a leader, speaking of those things that you may not want people to hear — but they need to hear so they can protect themselves,” said Harris.
The rest of the prediction points were only very briefly discussed by Sen. Harris. She pointed out that Trump only paid $750 in taxes and owed $400 million to someone, whose identity, she pressed, the American people deserve to know. This highlighted Trump’s tendency to lie or make light of situations that require transparency. She also pointed out his pattern of racist remarks, which Pence shook his head at — that seemed to be a pattern for him that night. Pence’s most notable moments of the night included him praising police officers and openly putting his faith and trust in the justice system, and ridiculing Biden for claiming the China travel ban was xenophobic. Of course, he also blamed China for the coronavirus, and claimed that Trump hated Nazis because he had Jewish grandchildren.
Despite the few Trump-like interruptions of both Harris and Page from Pence, and his persistent talking when his time was up, this debate was far more comprehensive and respectful than the one between President Trump and former Vice President Biden. Though it did not have much essence other than arguments over what Trump and Pence knew about COVID-19 that they kept from Americans, and discourse over systemic racism, it was at least a peaceful debate, and actually answered some of Moderator Susan Page’s questions.
As of right now, President Trump is refusing to attend the next Presidential Debate, as it was planned to take place over Zoom. If he changes his mind, though, hopefully we can expect to see another civil debate (though that is unlikely). If this debate turns out to be the last, at least it was a decent one.
Feature image: Courtesy of YouTube / ABC News