One and Only
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On October 4, the first and only vice presidential debate of this election took place between Donald Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence, and Hillary Clinton’s, Senator Tim Kaine. The debate was held at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia and was moderated by Elaine Quijano.
“It is unlikely that either candidate’s performance will significantly improve their ticket’s image among voters. At the same time, neither candidate obviously harmed their ticket,” concluded Kyle Kopko, co-author of “The VP Advantage: How Running Mates Influence Home State Voting in Presidential Elections.”
In his opening statement, Pence expressed his disapproval of Obamacare and claimed the U.S.’s stance in the world has weakened during Obama’s presidency. Kaine used this time to defend his trust in Clinton saying that her passion for serving others, especially kids and families, is why he is standing by her side.
While defending his candidate, Kaine brought up Trump’s selfish nature and the offensive comments he made, which caused Pence to attack Secretary Clinton’s role in the creation of the Obama administration’s “weak” foreign policy.
Despite needing to be put in place by Quijano several times, the VP candidates did discuss several important topics. On taxes, Pence condemned high taxes while Kaine discussed his and Clinton’s plans for lower taxes for the middle class and higher taxes for the wealthy.
Pence claimed Clinton’s plan is the same economic strategy that has ruined the country’s economy. Kaine responded by shutting down Trump’s plan to cut taxes on the wealthy, bringing up another hot topic, Trump’s failure to release his tax returns.
Two things became incredibly significant early on in the debate: Kaine’s constant interruption of Pence and Pence’s inability to defend his running mate’s comments, instead denying them.
“I think they both did well despite Kaine’s eagerness and Pence’s inability to defend Donald Trump,” commented BPHS senior Andy Santos.
Between the insults and crosstalk, the candidates also spoke out on extremely relevant issues such as gun violence, immigration, and abortion.
The single vice presidential debate of the election addressed both scandals and serious issues, making the ridiculous yet grave nature of this election clear. Governor Pence maintained a calm demeanor throughout the debate, which may have benefitted the Republican ticket; however, his shortcoming was found in his failure to defend Trump. He accused Kaine of leading an insult-driven campaign against Trump when Kaine was, in fact, directly quoting some of Trump’s statements. Despite Kaine’s ability to address the questions presented to him, his interruptions of Pence did not help him when it came to viewers according to Business Insider.
The debate was both politically significant and entertaining. It provided new insight into the individual campaigns by familiarizing voters with the people our presidential candidates trusted enough to choose as their running mates. The debate revealed just as much about Clinton and Trump as it did about Kain and Pence and we will soon see how it affected voters’ beliefs.