There was a time not so distant when the presidential debates in America were not a circus or an embarrassing spectacle, but a civilized clash, also often inane, of political ideas. Maybe that time will return soon. As a window into that past and that possible future this Wednesday night from Salt Lake City (Utah) has served the vice presidents debate between the Democratic nominee Kamala Harris and the republican Mike Pence, a face marked in multiple ways by the coronavirus .
It has been an exercise not without discrepancies that show deep political and ideological differences, including on how to deal with the crisis. Nor has he been free from attacks but it has been enough content in the forms. Will surely have little impact in the electoral race for the White House that the president is waging Donald Trump y Joe Biden and that is something that at this moment, and according to what they say the polls, it would be good for the Democrat.
There was special expectation before Harris and Pence’s face to face, especially since more than one has imagined them in the Oval Office given the Covid-19 contagion from President Donald Trump and taking into account that both the president and the Democratic candidate Joe Biden are septuagenarians (74 and 77 years old respectively). But both Harris, 55, and Pence, 61, have eluded the direct question about possible successions.
It has not been the only question that has been left unanswered in a meeting where the flow of crosses has ended up slowing down the extreme rigor with the times of the moderadora Susan Page, journalist from ‘USA Today’, determined to ensure that the regrettable spectacle of the debate between Trump and Biden in Cleveland was not repeated. Nor has it helped that Page did not skip the script or influence the multiple questions eluded by candidates on issues as fundamental as abortion, he future of the Supreme Court or, the most imminent and worrying, what to do if Trump does not accept the results of a possible electoral defeat.
With the pandemic as the first theme placed on the table, and on a stage where they had installed methacrylate screens and it had increased safety distance Among the candidates, a perfect reminder of the crisis that still plagues the country, Harris has opened with force. “The American people have witnessed greatest failure of any presidential administration in our history& rdquor ;, has assured the senator and former California prosecutor. And not only has he reviewed the human losses and economic suffering but, looking at the camera, he has reminded Americans that Trump and Pence, at the head of the White House coronavirus task force, “knew what was happening and they didn’t tell him & rdquor ;.
In pointing out the appalling management of the pandemic of an Administration that he has accused of “ineptitude” e “incompetence& rdquor; Harris has put his focus and had some of his best moments, and he has also spun that denunciation perfectly with that of the assault of Trump, Pence and the Republicans to the Barack Obama health reform right in this moment. “If you have previous medical problems, there is dust ye& rdquor;, Harris has said, once again looking directly at the camera and touching on one of the issues that is doing the most damage to Republicans.
Pence, distinguished and equal to Trump
Pence for his part, he has defended the response to the pandemic of the Administration trying accusing Harris and Biden of “doing politics & rdquor; with the crisis, turning to the Obama Administration’s response to swine flu or directly accusing Harris of being mbuilding confidence in the vaccine right after the senator she would have said about whether or not she will wear it: “If Dr. Anthony Fauci and the experts recommend it, I will be the first. If Donald Trump tells me I won’t take it”.
The former governor of Indiana and former host of a Christian radio station has shown once again in the debate that, despite having Ways so different from Trump this perfectly aligned with the message thrown by the occupant of the White House and also with some of his tactics and with his manual. The # 2 Administration of the “alternative facts”, for example, has told the Democrat on several occasions that “it has right to your opinion but not to the facts& rdquor ;. Paradoxical, to say the least, when in the 90 minutes he has left a trail of statements that fail the test of truth.
Right after refusing to admit the human impact on climate change, Pence has also thrown away the Trump campaign manual and has used the word “radical& rdquor; to define Harris’ environmental agenda, giving loudspeaker to the president’s macahaconian line of attack that a Biden win would be that of the radical left .
Pence and Harris have also collided over the Supreme court and by the nomination of the jueza Amy Coney Barrett, with Harris refusing to answer whether the Democrats will increase the number of judges on the High Court if they win, a matter in which Pence has tried to put him on the ropes, aware of how much it drags conservative voters.
They have also fought for the fiscal and environmental policy, for the relationship with China, Russia and Iran or for reasons of racism in the US, protests against police brutality or criminal justice reform. In the latter, Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica and the first black woman on a presidential ticket and former prosecutor, has spoken with more authority than Pence, locked in the “law and order” speech of a president who, in the previous debate, no matter how much Pence tried to deny it, evaded condemning white supremacism and he even sent the controversial message “be prepared” to a far-right group.
It is not clear that Harris or Pence will have convinced voters that they were not already in their ranks, but the debate has served to put them somewhat more under the spotlight. The Republican, who is taken for granted that whatever happens will try to seek the presidency in 2024, has recalled his strong conservative credentials, in case someone has ever forgotten them under the chaos that Trump creates around him. Y Harris, in whose ambitions the Oval Office also has space, has taken another step towards the national scene.