Pence vs. Harris: A true debate


Images by Gage Skidmore

Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence took the debate stage on Wednesday, Oct. 7. This Vice Presidential debate was the only one, whereas there are supposed to be three Presidential debates.

Leah Boone, Co Editor-in-Chief

If you read my article regarding the first Presidential debate (linked below), you had a very clear image of how I thought it went. However, after watching the Vice Presidential debate, I have some hope restored.

The biggest difference between the Presidential debate and the VP debate was simple: Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence actually debated one another. There were little to no interruptions, good points made on both sides and for the most part, maturity from each candidate.

“I was very surprised by the civility of the VP debate,” said senior Alec Marsh. “I think both candidates did a solid job at backing up their running mates.”

The vice president candidates each got their respective two minutes to answer the question asked without their debater interrupting. Aside from a few mishaps which quickly ended with Harris saying, “I’m speaking, Mr. Vice President,” they were both a lot better at not interrupting than the Presidential candidates last week. 

A large downside to Pence’s arguments that was glaringly obvious to me was his avoidance of multiple of the questions. The most prominent example was when asked what his role he would play in Trump’s refusal of a peaceful transfer of power if Biden wins, all Pence did was explain that he was sure Trump would win reelection. 

Many are arguing that Harris’s response tactics to Pence interrupting her was a little too ridiculing, as she just laughed and spoke to him like he was a child. However, to me, waiting for Pence to finish instead of attempting to talk over him was the most mature thing to do.

“I am biased but I believe most people would agree that Kamala seemed to be doing better throughout the debate,” Marsh said. “She gave off an air of confidence that almost felt presidential and she maintained a calm demeanor while not appearing emotional. Pence did not seem to have that same level of consistency, and seemed to revert back to a few talking points instead of answering questions head on.”

However, one thing that definitely got worse in this debate versus the Presidential debate was the moderator. Chris Wallace did a superb job attempting to keep the candidates in their time limit with no interruptions, even debating Trump himself when needed. On the other hand, Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today, rarely succeeded in taming Vice President Pence. 

On a much brighter note, the star of the show was neither candidate nor the moderator; no, it was the fly that landed on Pence’s head. Within seconds of it landing, my phone was bombarded with Twitter notifications of people tweeting about it.

“That fly stole the show,” said Outer Banks star Chase Stokes. “Incredible performance.”

Not only were celebrities and citizens tweeting about it, but at what felt like the speed of light, Joe Biden put out a fly swatter with “Truth over Flies” written on it on his website.

“Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly,” Biden tweeted, along with a picture of him holding a fly swatter.

Some may say it’s disappointing that thousands of Americans are focusing more on an insect than the actual debate. While I somewhat agree, I think Americans need any sort of comedic relief we can get right about now. 

So, let’s take a vote: Two men screaming at each other for an hour and a half, or a calm debate with the focus set on a fly? Either way, there’s definitely more to come in the next two Presidential debates.