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2020 Vice Presidential Debate

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

On October 7th, 2020, the first and only vice presidential debate took place in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Susan Page from USA Today moderated the debate between Vice President Pence (Republican party) and Senator Kamala D. Harris (Democratic Party).

Overall, the debate was milder in terms of civility compared to the presidential debates. Harris interrupted Pence seven times, compared to Pence interrupting her sixteen times. When candidates were frustrated, they pursed their lips or shook their heads silently.

First, the candidates talked about the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S.'s purportedly shoddy response to the ever-increasing death toll, and the future plans of both presidents. Harris's thoughts on a potential vaccine were clear in this statement: “If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely. But if Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.” Pence responded by saying, "the fact that you [Harris] continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable. Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

Adding seats to the Supreme Court was debated with Harris believing it would increase the voice of the American people, and Pence suggesting that this was a tactic to "get your way."

International trade was also debated. As for the trade war with China, Harris brought up a statistic of 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost as a result, with Pence's only refutation being "Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it."

Pence's stance on climate change was indifferent, as he believes"there are no more hurricanes today than there were 100 years ago, but many climate alarmists use hurricanes and fires to try and sell the Green New Deal." Kamala's stance differed in that she believed it was a pressing issue, and that Biden would lead the country to success in regards to climate change and "invest in renewable energy."

Divisions in the country were discussed at great length, with Sen. Harris mentioning the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, which included a white nationalist rally and violent protests by white supremacists. Kamala also mentioned Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman who was unjustly gunned down in her apartment by police officers in early 2020. Pence responded to Kamala's condolences to Taylor's family and how this event showed the corruptness of the justice system by saying,"[T]he family of Breonna Taylor has our sympathies. But I trust our justice system."

Towards the end of the debate, Vice President Pence denied that America struggles with systemic racism, a viewpoint that garnered much controversy and disdains the following day.

All in all the debate was comprehensive, including discussion on crime, economy, health care, race, the Supreme Court, COVID-19 and a potential vaccine, climate change, tax reform, Trump and Biden, voting, China, foreign policy, and abortion.

Written by: Neha Dubhashi


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