What to Expect from Tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate

Executive summary: Mike Pence is a more formidable adversary than you think. Kamala Harris is a worse debater than you remember.

Kamala Harris is known for one thing from her failed presidential primary run: kneecapping Joe Biden, her future running mate, with her “I was that girl on the bus” cheese ball. But there’s a reason she only scored 2% in those primaries: she isn’t much of a campaigner and, in general, she’s not quick on her feet. Not to mention, voters aren’t particularly fond of mean people who send innocent people of color to prison, fight in court to deny their right to get DNA testing, don’t apologize, and don’t try to get them out. She’s evil and we know it.

Mike Pence, on the other hand, his remembered mainly for referring to his wife as “mother“ and for gazing adoringly at President Trump for elevating him from representing Indiana.

Many Democrats I know are salivating at the thought of the former prosecutor eating Trump’s number two alive. I don’t think it’s going to go that way.

Like most vice presidential debates, tonight will be a fight between two surrogates mainly talking about their bosses, President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. This will be like that even more than usual. Neither figure here has a major profile like Dick Cheney. But don’t be surprised if Pence goes after her personally for her record as a prosecutor.

The major point of interest here is the wild difference in their personalities and speaking styles. In a way, they will be speaking completely different languages so they might not really connect against each other. The question is, will they connect with the television audience watching at home?

Mike Pence is creepy and weird but he’s going to do better than you think. He is methodical, calm and not easily flustered. Harris, ever the prosecutor, is best when rehearsed so she will come with plenty of prepackaged “girl on the bus” type of zingers. But she’s not used to being attacked one on one so Pence could easily throw her off balance if he comes at her hard or from an unexpected angle.

If I have to handicap this — and I guess I do – I’m going to give the advantage to Mike Pence.

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at ANewDomain.net, editor-in-chief of SkewedNews.net, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

5 thoughts on “What to Expect from Tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate

  1. Re Harris: “She’s evil and we know it.”

    At least we are assured that she is eminently qualified as president, the office to which she will most likely ascend before the end of a “Neo-JCrow Biden” term … if that actually happens.

    She can then carry on the glorious tradition and legacy of the previous tinted-skin “US CEO” (B.H Obumma) in making life significantly worse for US tinted-skin citizens

  2. So, to recap:
    Bernie Sanders got a finch.
    Mike Pence got a fly.
    Kamala Harris? Not even the flies will go near her.
    Am I the only one who saw that look on her face when she addressed Kayla Mueller’s family? Kind of a smirk, kind of a smile? Like her mouth didn’t know what to do with itself? Is this like Resting Beech Face? I sanitize the term to keep the moderator function from kicking in; it seems to be more kindly to me lately.
    I think we can all agree the loser of the evening was Susan Page. I guess they couldn’t get an inanimate carbon rod to sit in the moderator’s chair. In second? I think Kamala Harris, with her continual right-out-of-Hillary’s-playbook headshake of exasperation, was second. Pence wasn’t great — when you’re upstaged by David Hedison’s ghost — but he was okay. By talking over a totally ineffectual moderator repeatedly he certainly seemed a bit rude, but to his base? He was forceful and dynamic.
    Of course, if Hillary Clinton hadn’t stolen the 2016 primary, we wouldn’t be going through all this now.

    • Pence looked like he was dying on HDTV: pasty white, with that weird right eye (pinkeye?) ….and then the fly landed on him for two minutes. He was boned after that.

      It was two boring, awful people arguing about BS while California burned and the pandemic kept spreading. A poet said the Revolution would not be televised, but Hell certainly can be.

  3. She looked at him like he was a rude child, and several times said let me speak. she had to overcome the angry black woman trope. I think she succeeded in that at least. Did not appreciate Pence’s mansplaining and trying to talk over the moderator and Harris.
    I was afraid that the fly had died from Pence’s hairspray. Or maybe it was a micro-drone?

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