The vice presidential debate took place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, with both senator Kamala Harris and vice president Mike Pence seated behind a sheet of plexiglass. The display was telling of times we are currently living in as many of the Trump administration and prominent republican figures have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including the president himself. Though both candidates tested negative, extra precautions were taken to ensure the health of both parties. 

Although the debate was less of a chaotic mess than the first presidential debate, the two vice presidential nominees put forth much to think out. Covering issues such as the coronavirus, the economy, racial issues, climate change, foreign relations and the Supreme Court, both candidates covered their ideologies, more or less. 

Overall, Pence was much more competent than his counterpart and brought back some sort of professionalism to the Trump ticket. However, the vice president seemed to have an issue answering the questions at hand, more than once yielding his time to instead go back to previous questions and refute Harris’ statements. It was frustrating to not hear his stance on so many questions, instead spending his limited time to simply get the last word. When he did speak on the current matter at hand, it lacked substance. Many of his words repeated throughout the discussion, and rephrased Trump’s comments from the last debate. His attacks against Harris and the Biden campaign centered around 3 topics: fracking, the economy, and packing the supreme court. Repeatedly, Pence spoke about the Biden campaign’s moves to ban fracking, which the Biden administration has been clear they have no intention of doing so. Next, the economy. Pence brings up Biden’s plan to raise taxes. However, he apparently missed the part where only people who make more than 400k a year will experience a raise in taxes, simply telling the audience of last night that Biden would raise American’s taxes on day one. In addition, he continues to have faith in the economy saying, “2021 is going to be the biggest economic year ever.” Lastly, when discussing the awaiting nomination of judge Amy Coney Barrett, he repeatedly asked Harris if the democratic party would pack the court if Barrett was confirmed to the court, to which the senator did not answer. 

I was surprisingly impressed by Harris and walked away knowing a lot more about where she stands. She spent much of her time directing her message to the American people rather than speaking to the ones in the room, following Biden’s prior example. She was unapologetically critical of the Trump administration and their response to both racial issues and the coronavirus response and used her experience as both an attorney general and a U.S. senator to her advantage when talking about foreign policy and healthcare under the Obama administration. Harris discussed her unique viewpoint as a black woman on issues like abortion and systemic racism within law enforcement. Along with this, she continued to criticize Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacy during the last debate. She continued to show disapproval of the effort to confirm anyone to the supreme court during an election year, let alone less than a month before an important election. 

The first and only vice presidential debate certainly sparked conversation, though mostly about the fly landing and staying on Pence’s head. However, the most important message gained out of this debate is to go out and vote if you are able. Your voice counts now more than ever.

By: Zoya Zalevskiy, Print Editor-in-Chief

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