The first and only vice presidential debate of the year, held Oct. 7, marked the most historic debate this country has seen, with a woman of color behind the podium for the first time. The Democratic nominee, California Sen. Kamala Harris, went head–to–head with Vice President Mike Pence on imperative topics such as COVID-19, climate change and healthcare.
As if seeing Pence in action over the last four years isn’t enough to demonstrate how severely unfit he is for his current position, seeing his sorry attempt at a debate with Harris confirms that Harris is the obvious and progressive choice for the citizens of this country.
A common noticeable theme throughout the debate was factuality. Pence spoke vague, rosy words of praise about his administration while Harris provided data, statistics and source names both for the Biden administration and against the Trump administration.
Let’s break down some of the nominees’ responses on significant topics.
The first topic on the board, and rightfully so, was COVID-19. Harris clearly did her homework and appeared more knowledgeable on the topic than her counterpart, who heads the White House’s COVID-19 task force.
Harris jumped in feet first with her own inquiry toward the Trump administration and its lack of a plan, referring to it as “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in history,” in her opening statement. She further pointed out the administration’s prior knowledge of the virus and its failure to inform the American people. Harris hinted toward a plan under the Biden administration, emphasizing contact tracing and a free vaccine.
Pence defended his administration, claiming the president has put the American people first from day one before listing the moves his task force made in containing the virus such as increasing production of N95 masks and facilitating virus testing nationwide.
Harris used her response to pull in the audience and ask them how they felt about the lack of information they were given, demonstrating how she speaks for the people.
The topic of climate change in this debate was bare on Pence’s side. Anyone who was looking for a healthy debate on the topic was granted severe disappointment. Minimally, at least, Harris remained open and honest in her responses, unlike Pence.
This isn’t the first occasion where Pence avoided speaking on climate change; it has become a common pattern for him to avoid being direct on the topic as much as possible. Pence evaded answering whether he believes man-made climate change is exacerbating current climate issues, instead claiming that Biden’s supposed version of the Green New Deal will spike the price of energy and would “literally crush American jobs” before spewing out half-truths on Biden and Harris’s plans.
Harris had no issue fact-checking Pence and naming her sources while doing so, restating that Biden will not ban fracking nor does he support the Green New Deal, but he does place importance on renewable, clean energy sources unlike the current administration. Harris also introduced the ticket’s goal to have zero carbon emissions by 2050 and being carbon neutral by 2035.
Health care was not an official topic for this debate, but it was brought up on more than one occasion. As college students, most of whom are on their parents’ health insurance, knowing what plans each administration has for health care is vital.
It’s no secret that the Trump administration wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted under the Obama administration with Biden’s help. Biden has indicated he supports expanding on this health care act with added coverage and a more inclusive eligibility age range if he were to be elected.
Harris referred back to late June when Trump went to the Supreme Court in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the midst of the pandemic, telling the audience, “If you have a preexisting condition — heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer — they’re coming for you.”
Pence referred to the Affordable Care Act as “a disaster” and claimed the Trump administration has a plan to improve health care but gave no detail on said plan. Pence further commented on how Biden’s administration wants a government takeover of health care.
Harris constantly exhibited her humanity, morality and clear ability to lead throughout the debate. She spoke for the people; how they feel, what they endure, how they’re affected by current or future policies. Pence showed a pattern to put the economy and corporations first, both in his policies and in his opinions. This is nothing new. His time as vice president as well as in congress has shown exactly how he feels about the people of this country. Pence has constantly voted against LGBTQ+ equality issues, displaying opposition toward same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws. In his debate performance, Pence did not use a single talking point to discuss what he wants to do to benefit people, only big businesses. The people have always come second or third to that concept.
Do the research and stay educated.
Here is a full list of legislation Harris has sponsored or cosponsored in her time as senator. https://www.harris.senate.gov/about/legislation
This link contains all policy issues under the Trump Administration. https://ballotpedia.org/Policy_issues_under_the_Trump_administration
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