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.