The stakes couldn’t be much higher for Mike Pence heading into his first and only face-off with Kamala Harris as the Biden-Harris ticket continues to expand their lead in the national polls.
After the Trump-Biden dumpster-fire – with both candidates and the moderator repeatedly interrupting one another – tonight’s debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris is far less likely to devolve into cacophony.
Instead, it seems more likely Pence will highlight two extremely unflattering aspects of Kamala Harris: her prickliness and her radicalism.
And, as RealClearPolitics’ Susan Crabtree notes Harris will focus on attacking the vice president’s nice-guy reputation, pointing to Pence’s previous opposition to same-sex marriage and related issues impacting the LGBTQ Americans. The issue of LGBTQ rights could come up after Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito issued a broadside against the high court’s same-sex marriage decision on Monday when the court declined to hear a case brought by a former Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue a marriage license for same-sex couples.
By now, Pence is used to playing good cop to Trump’s bad one. As a former radio talk show host, he knows how to serve up disciplined sound bites aimed at a target audience. But, as RealClearPolitics’ Susan Crabtree notes, no one expects Harris to make it easy for him or to pull her punches after her record of fierce attacks against Biden and other opponents in the Democratic primary debates.
And so, in tonight’s debate, as AmericanThinker.com’s Chad Banghart details, Vice President Mike Pence has a golden opportunity. With the COVID-19 pandemic refusing to go away, President Trump’s right-hand man can prove that a Republican administration is the right one for the job at hand.
This is especially true in light of the first presidential debate, which split American voters along party lines. Democrats predictably praised Joe Biden’s performance, while Republicans saw President Trump as the clear victor. Independents were left uninspired by a debate marred by mumbling; interrupting; and poor, often biased moderating.
This brings us back to Mike Pence. With Biden polling favorably in recent weeks, President Trump will look for his running mate to steady the ship and bring more of the required fight. Here’s how to do it:
1. Tout the Trump-Pence administration’s many accomplishments
As President Trump often asks, what has Joe Biden actually accomplished during his five decades in Washington, D.C.? For that matter, what has Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) done after fizzling out in the 2020 Democratic primaries?
Compared to the Trump-Pence administration, they haven’t done much at all — and Pence needs to say so. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump economy was the strongest in American history. The stock market was breaking records, while black and Hispanic unemployment rates hit an all-time low. Even now, the U.S. economy is “booming” again (CNN’s words, not mine), which shows that the Trump-Pence administration is effectively guiding us out of the COVID-induced recession. All of this while COVID-19 cases and deaths are dropping with each passing week.
For Vice President Pence, don’t just say what you plan to do in the next four years. Show what you’ve already done for the American people.
2. Speak to American voters, especially in battleground states
Speaking of the American people, Pence needs to show that they are his first, second, and third priorities. From video calls to campaign rallies, the vice president has made it a mission to be visible to Americans in key battleground states and everywhere else. He needs to tailor his talking points to those people listening at home, without focusing too excessively on Senator Harris beside him.
Let’s remember: the vice presidencies of Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, and Al Gore were thoroughly establishment in nature. In recent decades, vice presidents have sought to steal the spotlight from the man in charge, forgetting that they were actually second in command. The vice presidency became part of the “Washington swamp.” Not so with Vice President Pence, who has always respected President Trump’s ability to lead and done his part to enact the “America First” agenda. This shows unprecedented humility on Pence’s part, which must be conveyed to American voters.
3. Stick to facts, not feelings
The vice presidential debate will come down to tone, especially after the raucousness of last week’s showdown. In highlighting the Trump-Pence administration’s record and speaking to American voters, Vice President Pence needs to continue using his “presidential” tone and not stoop to the lows of the radical left — embodied by Senator Harris, the most left-wing vice-presidential candidate in American history.
Make the record clear. Cite actual statistics. Stick to the facts. Pence should overwhelm Harris with cold, hard truths. When she invokes “systemic racism,” the vice president must restate the Trump-Pence administration’s position on law and order and explain how the administration has kept Americans safe in Democrat-run cities during a time of rioting and looting. Pence should also expose Harris’s own hypocrisy, given that she spent nearly three decades as a tough-on-crime prosecutor who sent countless black men to prison.
When Harris personally insults the president, Pence needs to list examples of actions that the Trump-Pence administration has taken to help Americans across socioeconomic lines. He will win the debate if he continues to be the mature, experienced leader in the room. And by sticking to the facts, the vice president will allow Harris to expose herself as the left-wing radical whom Biden foolishly chose.
As Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill concludes so succinctly, the vice-presidential debate is undoubtedly the one to watch to get an idea of the Republican and Democratic platform and plans. Unless personalities drastically change, it should be a civil exchange with low-key barbs thrown about the bad orange man and a party intent on imposing socialism on this constitutional republic. But unlike debates of running mates past, America will be watching these two as potential occupants of the Oval Office. At 77, Biden is seemingly physically fit but mentally deteriorating; at 74, the president contracted COVID and is a tad out of shape. Nevertheless, this may be the most critical presidential debate in our lifetime – the one where the understudy is suddenly the main event.