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Are the vice-presidential candidates “entitled” to their own facts? A look at their debate

Are the vice-presidential candidates “entitled” to their own facts? A look at their debate

Salt Lake City – The only vice presidential debate on October 7 consisted of less shouting and interrupting than the presidential debate a week ago. Despite the relative calm of this debate, Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly said that Senator Kamala Harris was not “entitled” to her own facts. The two candidates spoke on many topics during this debate, avoiding several questions asked by moderator Susan Page of USA Today.

Kamala Harris spent the evening talking directly into the camera at the American people, many times verbally addressing them. At the beginning of the debate, Harris critiqued the Trump administration’s delayed response to the coronavirus. She made a public appeal to vote for the Biden/Harris ticket because “we need to save our country.”

In a later discussion on healthcare, Harris stressed the point that pre-existing conditions will be eliminated as a result of Republican efforts to dispose of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the Trump administration has not put forth an alternative to the ACA, let alone standards to protect pre-existing conditions in American healthcare; President Trump continues to battle against Obamacare in court. 

In a discussion on the importance of diplomacy in foreign policy, Harris likened it to “relationships.” The senator explained that there are friendships and adversaries in foreign policy. Harris said that “[Trump] abandoned our friends and [cozied up] to dictators.” The Democratic vice presidential candidate continued to appeal to the public on her credibility and authority throughout the evening.

Vice President Mike Pence (R) and Senator Kamala Harris (D).

Several times during the debate, Pence resorted to using Republican rhetoric in his answers. On the topic of climate change, Pence said that the proposed Green New Deal by Democrats would “crush American families and homes,” due to the deal’s cost. 

The current vice president also said Biden is a “cheerleader for communist China” frequently during the debate. Pence continued Trump administration rhetoric on job creation, coronavirus vaccine development, and the “V-shaped” recovery of America’s economy.

Both candidates refused to answer certain questions. On the topic of the Supreme Court, Mike Pence asked Harris whether Democrats would pack the Supreme Court should Trump be re-elected. Harris did not answer this question directly — she instead attacked the Trump administration for appointing judges that are “purely ideological” and “substandard.” 

Court-packing refers to adding additional justices to sit on the bench at the Supreme Court. However, the Constitution does not actually mandate how many justices can have a seat on the Court. Should the Democrats want to change the number of judges, Congress would have to pass a law. 

Vice President Pence did not directly answer a question on what the Trump administration would do if Roe v. Wade was overturned, but spoke to his pro-life views instead. Neither Harris nor Pence answered the question regarding precautions for each presidential candidate’s health in their elder years.

Despite their ideological differences, the two vice presidential candidates seemed to agree on several policy areas. In a discussion on racial justice, Pence said of George Floyd, a Black man, “There’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd, and justice will be served.” When questioned about the murder of Breonna Taylor, an African-American woman, Pence said that his heart breaks for the “loss of any innocent American life.”

Harris echoed similar views, and highlighted the torturous way in which George Floyd was killed by police earlier this year. However, Pence quickly condemned rioting and violence that have occurred, through what he implied was the Black Lives Matter movement. Harris also said she does not “condone violence.”

The final question of the night on the division in American politics as portrayed in the news media came from a 14-year-old high school student. Pence said that a “free and open exchange of debate” is welcome in the United States and stressed the importance of friendship across the aisle. He pointed to the friendship of the late Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, just as Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barett did last Saturday. 

Harris encouraged Americans to vote because of the bipartisan support the Biden/Harris ticket has, and also spoke to Biden’s character. She said Biden “has known pain, he has known suffering, and he has known love.” The senator also said the future will be brighter for the young leadership in America.

If President Trump is not fully recovered by the next presidential debate on October 15, will tonight’s debate be the last one?

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Lead developer and editor; legal/political reporter for the Current Affairs Times. World traveler. Mac 'n' cheese lover.

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