In the only VP debate, the incumbent Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic VP nominee Senator Kamala Harris met in Utah on October 7.
The event holds historical importance, as Kamala became the first woman of color to be a part of any such event in the history of the country.
While the debate remained mostly peaceful compared to the first Presidential debate with fewer interruptions, both candidates accused each other of critical failures of the country; that aggression made the discussion eventful. How did both the nominees play a blame game, and how did their opposition respond? Let’s have a look.
COVID Failures: The crucial topic of VP debate with infected Trump in the office:
Amid the recent White House coronavirus outbreak, the VP debate started with the most expected topic of COVID as the president caught the virus.
To stop any further potential COVID outbreak, both the candidates were separated by a couple of plexiglass sheets, which experts believe will be of no use in containing the virus in case of the presence of the virus on the stage.
Kamala Harris accused Trump of hiding truths from the American people regarding COVID. Harris added that Trump and Pence knew on January 28, 2020, that the virus was contagious and airborne, but they never told Americans until March. Had they been told, many lives could have been saved in the US. She further added that the president asked people to calm, but he forgot that they could not stay calm in such a situation when people have been dying in masses.
This statement started a series of accusations where Pence accused Biden and Harris that Democrats opposed Trump’s lockdown and travel ban from China, which saved almost 2.2 million lives for the USA. The VP blamed Democrats that their plan to fight COVID IS “plagiarism.” Pence blamed Harris for undermining the vaccine and to “play politics with people’s lives.”
Racial issues in VP debate- focused on George Floyd’s Death:
The segment related to racial issues also saw a number of accusations from both sides.
While discussing the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, VP Pence blamed Biden and Harris for insulting the police. He said, “The presumption that you hear consistently from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is that America is systemically racist and, as Joe Biden said, that he believes that law enforcement has an implicit bias against minorities… is an insult to the men and women that serve in law enforcement.”
Not only this, but he also blamed the senator for more prosecution of people of color during her tenure as a prosecutor. He said, “When you were DA in San Francisco when you left, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics. When you were attorney general of California, you increased the disproportionate incarceration of Blacks in California.”
Talking about the racial issues in the only VP debate, Harris claimed that President Trump denied condemning the white supremacists in the first presidential debate, which can boost racism in the country. To negate the charges labeled by Pence on the record of the senator as the attorney general, Kamala went on and counted her achievements as a prosecutor.
Shrinking Economy and booming Unemployment:
Amid all the prevailing economic crises and unemployment, the economy was one of the hottest topics to see in the VP debate. Harris blamed Trump for all the economic mishandling, arguing that he is up for the only richest 1% of the country as he is enacting weird tax laws.
Pence said that Democrats want to “raise taxes” and “bury our economy under two trillion dollars of the green new deal.” He further added that Biden wants to economically surrender to China by banning fossil fuels and other things.
Climate policy and the blame game:
Like any other thing, climate policy has also become the town’s talk in recent times so it was the expected topic to see in the VP debate. Pence adds that a Biden-Harris administration will “put us back” with the Paris climate accord and that the Democrats wanted to abolish fossil fuels completely, which will destroy the economy.
While blaming the Trump-Pence administration in the VP debate, Harris said that the current administration is alienated from science and that they denounce science when it comes to climate change, a label which Pence negated as the debate progressed.
Foreign policy and the role of the USA in the world:
The VP debate saw a reasonable portion dedicated to discussing the foreign policy where China, Russia, Iran, and ISIS were discussed primarily.
Harris blamed that farmers’ bankruptcies and loss of manufacturing jobs happened due to Trump’s trade war with China and that the Trump administration lost this trade war in a big way. She further added that Trump’s response to China has cost us our lives and that the American consumers are paying thousands of dollars for goods due to the Trump trade war.
While on the other hand, Pence said that Biden is a “Cheerleader to China,” and we lost many manufacturing jobs in his vice-presidency.
While talking about Russia, Kamala Harris claimed that Trump betrayed the friends and embraced dictators around the world, especially Russia. Similarly, Harris was of the view that Iran is making the nuclear arsenal due to Trump’s flawed policies concerning the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed under the Obama administration.
Pence accused Biden of being soft on ISIS while relating the Trump’s achievements to take down Al-Baghdadi last year.
The VP debate was much more in line with the ethics and rules of the debate as compared to the first presidential debate, so viewers all over the country were able to see the apparent difference in policies that they expected in the presidential debate.
Apart from all the accusations mentioned above, Harris blamed Trump for labeling the military as losers and accused Trump of suppressing the power of the vote.
Who won the debate will be clear in the upcoming polls, but one thing is certain. Had Trump made fewer interruptions in the first presidential debate during Biden’s talks, the polls today would have been telling a different story, which is leaning in favor of the Democrats by a massive margin of 16 percent.
The commission has announced that the second presidential debate will be held virtually as Trump caught COVID. With Trump saying that he will not participate in the virtual second debate, the future of these debates will only be clear in the upcoming days.