Kamala Harris, senator and Democratic nominee for vice president, took on the Republican nominee, Vice President Mike Pence, live on the debate stage on October 7th, 2020.
With viewers feeling uneasy about the upcoming election in the aftermath of the presidential debate, it’s safe to say that the vice presidential debate was certainly cordial. The topics included the Supreme Court vacancy left behind by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, racial injustice, and President Trump’s tax controversy.
Harris opened by condemning Trump’s administration for their failure to handle the coronavirus pandemic, in light of the 200,000+ death toll. “They’ve [the American people] had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration,” said Harris, explaining that the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many Americans suffering financially and emotionally. Pence responded later, while discussing the coronavirus vaccine: “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable.” Pence made a bold statement shortly thereafter: “Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”
On the topic of trade, Harris criticized the political tension between the United States and China, adding that “America lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs” as a result of a “so-called trade war with China.” Harris called out the president for not supporting frontline workers enough by minimizing the seriousness of the coronavirus, as he’s done by discouraging people from wearing masks.
In addition, on the subject of the coronavirus, the plexiglass dividing the VP candidates were a startling reminder of how much American life has changed. CNN noted how, in every shot of Harris and Pence, the barriers were undeniably noticeable. Gone unnoticed by Pence, however, was the fly that sat on his head for a small portion of the debate and quickly went viral on social media.
Kamala Harris later went on to slam Pence and Trump on the Supreme Court vacancy. The focal point of the Supreme Court vacancy issue is the decision of whom will be appointed to the vacant seat. Pence asked what the Biden administration would do, in terms of adding seats, if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s chair. All Harris responded with was that the Senate should not proceed with Judge Barrett’s confirmation: “Joe and I are very clear: The American people are voting right now and it should be their decision about who will serve on the court.”
But at the conclusion of the vice presidential debate, political commentators stated that the debate did little to sway American voters. If anything, it provided original content for some quality memes, mostly about the fly that attached itself to Pence’s hair and quotes from Harris such as “Mr. Vice President, I am speaking.”