Tuesday, Oct. 5 marked the first vice-presidential debate, which a number of you probably didn’t watch. I don’t blame you. These debates tend to have moderately small impact on the election—potentially even more so with Governor Mike Pence and Senator Tim Kaine as the candidates, since you might expect it to be as bland as white bread. (Below: Mike Pence on the left, Tim Kaine on the right.)
But things actually got pretty feisty. They were talking over one another so much there were times you couldn’t understand what they were saying. Just ask the moderator, Elaine Quijano. Kaine seemed to try to beat Donald Trump’s interruption record. Meanwhile, Pence spent all his energy doing mental gymnastics in order to avoid answering questions.
They touched on quite a few topics, including Russia, immigration, terrorism, police and race relations, more Russia, more terrorism, and Trump’s taxes. Not included was income inequality, climate change, money in politics, and several other issues that are, you know, important. The theme of the debate seemed to revolve around fear-mongering and machismo.
On immigration, Kaine contended that Trump/Pence aspire to deport 60 million people. Pence replied that this was “nonsense” and fired back that Clinton/Kaine support amnesty and open borders. Then, I couldn’t understand anything else because they were talking over one another.
Kaine called for vetting refugees, but not discriminating based on their home country or religion. Pence then doubled down on his running mate’s stance, and attacked Hillary Clinton for wanting to bring in dangerous refugees. Kaine then said his opponent will violate the Constitution by discriminating against immigrants based on national origin.
On the topic of police shootings, Pence called for transparent investigations, but said we shouldn’t demean police with the accusation of implicit bias. Kaine used statistics to argue why implicit bias is an accurate term.
The subject of religion invited the candidates to speak about abortion. Kaine had one of my favorite lines in this debate: “We can encourage people to support life, of course we can, but why don’t you trust women? Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?” Cue slow clap.
Then comes taxes. More specifically, Trump’s elusive taxes. His running partner attempted to defend him, maintaining that the republican nominee didn’t avoid paying them, but simply took advantage of the deductions he was given. Kaine argued that Trump must not support the troops, since his taxes could have gone to the military.
Following, Pence called Russian President Vladimir Putin “small and bullying,” which is actually in discord with his running mate, who publicly hailed Putin as a “leader… far more than our president has been.” Then he mentioned something about a Russian proverb about a bear? Yeah, I don’t get it either.
So, who won? Well, Pence was declared the winner before the debate even started, so he clearly came out on top, right? On the one hand, Kaine was certainly more aggressive, and some outlets say he lost because of that. On the other hand, I thought Kaine did a better job rightfully criticizing Trump, and Pence had a hard time defending him. But still, let’s face it, this debate has little influence over the election.