- The fly was the winner as no major gaffes were made by either candidate, and both performed about as expected.
“Buzzzz, bzzz what’s going on here? There sure are a lot of cameras here, and plexiglass dividers. I heard those humans are suffering a plague, maybe that’s why. And that’s probably why the food table isn’t out like usual. Good thing I got my fill at that Rose Garden party at the White House. No precautions there!”
(Sees the moderator and people on stage)
“Bzzzz, those guys look important. The Lady in glasses looks like she’s in charge, since she’s asking the questions to Smiley Lady and White-haired Guy. He reminds me of something I’ve seen before, oh yeah, a robot! Smiley Lady must be some kind of teacher because she keeps having to remind the White-haired Robot man that she’s talking. Hmmm, Robot Man must have a different native language because he keeps answering different questions than the Glasses Lady is asking. Maybe he needs an interpreter? I thought these things required translators for people with English as a second language? I bet Robot Man won’t notice if I take a little rest.” Zzzzzzzzzz.
So this is a little facetious, but the fly on Vice President Mike Pence’s head was probably the most exciting and unpredictable part of this debate. Expectations for Mike Pence were quite low as he is usually overshadowed by his loud and rambunctious leader, so the fact that he was able to put coherent sentences together was a surprise to many and is counted as a win in his column.
Despite his even tone, Pence displayed an unsurprising lack of adherence to time limits, exceeding time limits 17 times after moderator Susan Page asked him to stop talking for a total of 4 minutes and 21 seconds, not including the time Pence tried to grab by talking over Sen. Kamala Harris during her allotted time.
As the debate wore one, Harris became more aggressive about getting equal time, and she also exceeded limits by 2 minutes and 4 seconds. Pence also interrupted Harris about twice as much as she interrupted him resulting in the quickly-made memes and merchandise for “I’m speaking” which have since flooded the internet.
For the most part, Harris focused on the Trump administration’s mishandling of the COVID pandemic and subsequent devastation of the economy. She also used moderator Susan Page’s question about if the presidential candidates should be transparent about their health status to make a point about Trump obscuring his tax records which were only revealed by “strong investigative journalism.”
She also touted her record as a prosecutor and attorney general of California by stating “I will not sit here and be lectured by the vice president on what it means to enforce the laws of our country.”
Harris defended Joe Biden’s foreign policy and praised his history of bipartisanship and stated that the Trump administration “lost the trade war with China” resulting in the loss of 300,000 manufacturing jobs. She also hammered home that Trump and Pence are right now, in the middle of a pandemic, trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act which protects those with preexisting conditions, looking straight into the camera while saying “they are coming for you.” She also spoke about her relationship with Breonna Taylor’s mother and called for police reform such as eliminating police chokeholds, like the one which caused George Floyd’s death.
Pence for his part highlighted how quickly Trump closed the border to China stating that Biden called this move “racist.” He then went into a long story about the swine flu under the Obama administration, stating that if it had been as deadly as COVID19, over 2 million Americans could have died. This is an odd projection to make considering that the swine flu was not especially deadly.
He portrayed Biden and Harris as hostage to the radical left and mentioned Harris’s support of the Green New Deal several times while stating that this would take away American jobs. He also warned that rolling back the Trump tax cuts would damage middle-class families who saved on average $2,000 —despite Harris clearly asserting that Biden tax plan would increase taxes only on those who earn over $400,000 and eliminate corporate loopholes.
Pence also stressed their Law and Order platform, saying that the Trump administration supports law enforcement and denied that there is systemic racism in America or bias against African Americans. He also accused Biden and the Obama administration of allowing the expansion of ISIS and lauded the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
He appealed to his right-wing base by stressing his Christian faith and making the incendiary and flagrantly false statement that Democrats support abortion “until the moment of birth,” which would be considered infanticide by any party or legal entity. He was also vague when asked if he believed in climate change and worryingly refused to address Trump’s insinuation that he would refuse to leave office if he was defeated, instead stating that he was 100% sure that Trump will win come November.
He did point out that Harris avoided answering whether Democrats would “stack the court” to counter the Barrett nomination — when she was asked about this, Harris instead pointed out that the Trump administration had “stacked” the lower courts with their judge picks, none of whom were Black.
Harris is known as a fiery orator with quick wit and she did appear to be holding her tongue, likely to counteract being seen as an “angry, Black woman.” She surprisingly left out some key counter points she could have made such as Trump’s allegiance to Putin and his impeachment, instead generally focusing on his cozying up to dictators and lowering the worldwide standing of the United States. She also made no mention of the Republican hypocrisy of pushing through the Barrett nomination, while similarly blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for 11 months in 2016.
Although the current presidential candidates are older than in any prior election, this vice-presidential debate is unlikely to have swayed any undecided voters. No major gaffes were made by either candidate, and both performed about as expected and likely solidified their base. So let’s get back to the real action here . . .
Bzzzzz. . . well, I had a nice rest on White-haired Robot Man’s head. Now it’s time for me to move on. Where to next? I heard there are some nice militia men up in Michigan who are having a big party to kidnap the governor. I bet there won’t be any COVID precautions there! See you later Mr. White-haired Robot Man, thanks for the nap! Buzzzzz.
Preeti Roy is a physician and author. Her soon-to-be published first book called “Adventures in Datingland” is a comedic look at modern dating from the perspective of an Indian American feminist. It also addresses societal issues pertaining to Indian and minority cultures. You can see more of her work at preetybyrd.com. Currently she lives in the Midwest with her adorable furbaby Lucy.