Election Update: Vice Presidential Debate Preview

10/4/2016 by Dylan James Harper

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The vice presidential debates aren’t the most impactful political events, but they are often far more interesting. Often times vice presidential candidates go through a substantially less scrutinized vetting process than presidential candidates. This can ruin presidential candidates (http://bit.ly/2dPWHLd), or get a candidate out of a slump (http://bit.ly/2dG6nZu). With that in mind, let’s take a look at the upcoming veep debate, that’ll take place this Tuesday in Virginia.

Tim Kaine isn’t an unknown on the level of Sarah Palin, but he isn’t widely known either. This is essentially his introduction to voters, and he’ll likely try to emulate Joe Biden’s performance in his last debate to make an impression. Kaine isn’t Joe Biden, but he might be able to channel some of Biden’s charm. He’s notoriously bubbly, which can go one of two ways. With Mike Pence likely to be on the defensive, Kaine is going to need to try and stay somewhat aggressive throughout the debate. His vivacious personality might make that difficult.

What will be somewhat interesting is how much Trump takes center stage in a debate he’s not at. He’s slumping in the polls after the first presidential debate, which leave Pence in a tough spot. Normally, in true Joe Biden fashion, the vice president, who can take a few more risks, would be aggressive after a bad first debate from their candidate. Trump, however, didn’t lie low after the first debate, and gave Kaine some ammo to go after if he so chooses.

In terms of policy, Pence is likely to try to stay as far away from social issues as possible. Like Trump, Pence has some views that aren’t exactly palpable to moderates and independents, and he’s going to try and hide those away and stick to trade and jobs. Kaine’s counter will likely be to continually focus on how economic issues and social issues are related. Hillary was moderately successful at this, but Kaine could me more effective if he’s aggressive early.    The only way this has a huge impact is from a truly disastrous performance. Pence might come up out swinging, and if he can get Pence on the defensive early, maybe that can swing the polls back in Trump’s direction. If Pence has no answer for what should be Kaine’s aggressive attacks on Trump, it could put Trump in a deeper hole. In all likelihood, neither of these scenarios will occur, and this debate will hardly move the needle in any direction. Either way, check back later in the week for the recap.


Dylan James Harper is the Chief Political Editor for CSuiteMusic

Read more of Dylan's work at www.dylanjamesharper.com

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