The debates among the candidates for vice president of the United States tend to be a marginal issue, politically irrelevant and that generates little interest, with less than half the audience than the presidential ones. Not in this turbulent and pandemic 2020.
With the country shaken by a coronavirus that he has left in the country already more than 210,000 dead and almost 7.5 million infected, including President Donald Trump, the face to face between the Republican Mike Pence and the democrat Kamala Harris this Wednesday night in Salt Lake City is injected with relevance. And with a 74-year-old infected president and a Democratic hopeful, Joe Biden, who would reach the White House with a record of 78 years if he wins, perhaps never before has the number two been looked at with more idea that they could occupy the Oval Office.
The pandemic, in the bottom and in the form
The debate is totally marked by the pandemic in matters of political substance such as economy, the healthcare and the racial inequality but also, and it is not only anecdotal, in the shape. The separation between the candidates has been increased to 3.6 meters. And Kamala Harris may appear separated from Pence by a methacrylate lampshade. In principle another was going to be placed around Pence but his team objected at the last minute, also using comments derogatory to Harris (“use it if it makes you feel more comfortable“). Pence is leading the White House coronavirus task force.
That role of the Republican, and therefore the failed and questioned federal response from the Trump Administration to the pandemic, it can be anticipated as one of the central nuclei of the debate, although the topics that will be addressed in nine ten-minute segments have not been advanced. And while on paper it opens a clear line of attack for Harris, who has been preparing weeks to link Pence with Trump and attack the political record of his tenure, the contagion from the president has forced him to change plans.
Even as Trump has become ill from his own irresponsibility and has used his infection and privileged treatment to once again minimize the severity of the pandemic, Harris comes to the debate now with the aim of not focusing on personal criticism of the president and Pence but of launching a message to Americans about how a potential Biden Administration will respond to the crisis. Of Pence you can expect a fiery defense of government actions Republican, no matter how much the polls show the majority disapproval of the management.
Two phenomenal contenders
On Pence and Harris also falls the weight of give substance to the political discussiona, something that Trump made impossible in the first debate with Biden. And face to face will be two politicians phenomenal when it comes to debating, albeit in very different ways, which represent the two poles of the ideological spectrum.
Pence, who spent 12 years in Congress and was Governor of Indiana, ultra-conservative evangelical Christian from the Midwest, has not lost its Age 61 an iota of ambition that from a very young age has marked his political career. And he was in the formal antipodes of Trump but he has accepted almost as a divine mission to be next to the president. In terms of style he is radically different from Trump, with his tone measured, considerate and soft, but, as the Democratic lawyer Bob Barnett, who played it when preparing to debate it in 2016 Tim Kaine, has recalled, “out of his mouth will come wild trumpisms& rdquor ;. Is a iron fist in silk glove.
So is Harris, a woman from 55 years nor lack of ambition that is already used to breaking glass ceilings. This daughter of immigrant scholars from India and Jamaica was several times “first & rdquor; woman black: at the San Francisco district attorney’s office and as California attorney general before reaching the Senate in 2017. And in the Upper House, where she will be seen again in the confirmation sessions of the conservative judge nominated by Trump for Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett, she managed to capture the attention with her incisive interrogations of men like the attorneys general. William Barr and Jeff Sessions and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
No one doubts that Pence’s strategy will be to portray her as representative of the “radical left & rdquor;– something she already did when Biden elected her in August. They will return against her the personal assault that made Biden in a primary debate for having opposed a measure favorable to the school integration of blacks. But Harris, used to balances, has her arguments to defend herself against the two attacks, although normally in debates she is considered better to attack than when it responds to blows.
Pence must go with leaded feet. With the vote of women walking away increasingly de Trump, who has called Harris “disgusting & rdquor; and “angry & rdquor ;, the republican must show that he debates on political philosophy, not on race or gender. but the same applies to Harris. Hillary Clinton was recently reminded of this in an interview on his podcast: Harris, Said, Should. subtle and “modulate their responses because we know that there is still a double standards alive and kicking as it relates to women in politics & rdquor ;.