Vice Presidential debate between Harris and Pence taught us little

Posted on

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Opinion columnist
Published 3:15 a.m. ET Oct. 9, 2020

I saw two people who were oblivious to how annoying it is for voters to see politicians who — while perhaps well-versed in social studies — still managed to come up short on social skills.

The elephant in the room in Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate wasn’t an elephant at all. It was a zebra.

When Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence took the stage, the contrast was as clear as black and white.

In fact, even before Harris and Pence arrived at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, some commentators were euphemistically alluding to the fact that the candidates came from different backgrounds.

It’s a safe bet they weren’t talking about how the 61-year-old Pence is a product of Columbus, Indiana and 55-year-old Harris was — as she was sure to emphasize at one point — born in Oakland, California. 

Riots, looting and systemic racism

After a tense summer of racial unrest in dozens of U.S. cities, and Americans more divided on the issue of race than we have been since the 1960’s, there they were on stage — albeit socially-distancing from one another: a Black woman and a White man. 

This kind of matchup doesn’t happen every day. In fact, it has never happened before in all of U.S. history. Oh, there have been two other women nominated for vice president by a major political party — Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. But they were both White.

Watching the start of the debate, I anticipated that fireworks were on the way — and, more than likely, over the issue of race.

Yet, for the first 30 minutes of the debate, race did not come


University of Utah proceeding as planned for vice presidential debate Wednesday

Posted on

The vice presidential debate Wednesday is still proceeding as planned for now after President Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis, according to the University of Utah.

The university is hosting the event in Salt Lake City on Oct. 7.

A university spokesman said Friday that anybody who requests access to the security perimeter and those in the debate hall must test negative for the coronavirus and wear a mask at all times.

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris both tested negative for the virus Friday.

There will be exceptions for the mask mandate during the debate for Mr. Pence, Ms. Harris, and moderator Susan Page.

According to reporters who were at Tuesday’s debate between Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden, many people on the president’s side of the room, including his four adult children, eschewed the Cleveland Clinic’s requirement that attendees wear masks once they were in their seats.

First lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive for the virus, was spotted wearing a mask as she walked to her seat but eventually took it off, according to Bloomberg’s Tyler Pager.

Mr. Trump himself lampooned Mr. Biden during the debate for his mask-wearing habits.

“Our policy is that everyone must wear a mask,” said Shawn Wood, the University of Utah spokesman, when asked about possible enforcement mechanisms for attendees at the vice presidential debate.

The Cleveland Clinic, the health advisor for the Commission on Presidential Debates, said in a statement Friday that everyone inside the debate hall on Tuesday had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to entry and that they believe there was a low risk of exposure for the guests.

“Individuals entering the debate hall were masked and in some cases removed their masks once seated,” the medical center also said. “A Cleveland Clinic physician


Trump built a career on magic words. The spell broke at the debate.

Posted on

His obsession with sound bites, in particular, was almost comically evident during Tuesday evening’s presidential debate: He kept attempting to goad Joe Biden into uttering phrases as if they were magic words that would make or break him with whole swaths of voters, and when the Democrat didn’t robotically repeat “Green New Deal” or refer to expansive public works programs as “socialism,” Trump would shriek that Biden had “lost the left!” — as if the left was just waiting for those specific incantations to determine its vote. (As an ostensible member of the left myself, I’m not expecting Biden to join the Democratic Socialists of America, but I’m still planning on voting for him.)

So when Biden said Tuesday that “the Green New Deal is not my plan” and “no, I don’t support the Green New Deal,” Trump pounced: “Oh, you don’t? Oh, well, that’s a big statement. You just lost the radical left.” But “Green New Deal” is not a magic phrase that proves a belief in climate science. It is a plan for addressing climate change through discrete policies. And Biden has embraced enough of its pieces to make it obvious that his climate policy would be better than Trump’s, even if he’s not on board with the whole thing.

The president tried the same tactic when Biden insisted that his health-care plan would still allow private insurance for most Americans. “Joe, you agreed with Bernie Sanders, who’s far left, on the manifesto, we call it. And that gives you socialized medicine,” Trump said. When Biden said there is no manifesto, the president replied, triumphant, “He just lost the left!”

Trump may have expected this to work because so much of his career has involved successfully deploying magic words, either by branding a catchphrase (“You’re fired!”) or appealing


America’s Reaction After First Presidential Debate

Posted on

Long Island University National Poll: America’s Reaction After First Presidential Debate

PR Newswire

BROOKVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 1, 2020

BROOKVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Results of a breaking Long Island University Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling, and Analysis national poll were announced in the aftermath of the first presidential debate for Election 2020.

Long Island University (PRNewsfoto/Long Island University)
Long Island University (PRNewsfoto/Long Island University)

National poll results found that 80 percent of respondents tuned in to watch President Donald Trump debate former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening. High viewership of the event was supported by Neilsen ratings that estimated 73.1 million Americans watched the debate.

Americans were asked who they thought did a better job in Tuesday evening’s debate between Trump and Biden. Among respondents, 41 percent said that Biden did a better job in the debate, while 22 percent said that Trump had a stronger performance. More than a third of respondents (37 percent) said there was no difference (18 percent) or gave no opinion on the matter (19 percent).

After the presidential debates ended on Tuesday evening, Americans were asked who they would vote for if the election were held today. Respondents said they would vote for Biden (48 percent), Trump (31 percent), and another candidate (7 percent). An additional 9 percent of respondents said they were undecided and 5 percent said they wouldn’t vote if the elections were held today.

While a variety of factors were mentioned, the one issue that mattered most on deciding


The Debate Was a Disaster. But Hey, Climate Change Came Up

Posted on

Near the end of last night’s catastrophic “presidential” debate, moderator Chris Wallace lobbed a surprising question at Donald Trump: “What do you believe about the science of climate change? And what will you do in the next four years to confront it?”

It was surprising because, for one thing, it wasn’t on the list of questions Wallace told the campaigns he’d be asking. For another, climate change typically rests out of view at the very bottom of the dumpster fire that is modern American politics. And more significantly, after an hour and a half of nearly constant interruptions and insults, mostly from Trump, what followed was a discussion that inched toward civility.

“It was kind of interesting that that was the most watchable part of the entire debate, I think,” says University of California, Los Angeles climate scientist Daniel Swain. “And that seems to be something that other people have noticed, too. It was the part of the debate with fewest interruptions. I don’t know—maybe that’s because Trump just hadn’t prepared for it at all and didn’t really know what to say.”

What Trump did say was that he wants “crystal-clean water and air,” which might be a tall order given that he’s gutted the Environmental Protection Agency. Also, the Paris Agreement, which the US abandoned during his presidency, was a disaster, he added. As for the wildfires currently ravaging the western states? “The forest floors are loaded up with trees, dead trees that are years old and they’re like tinder,” Trump said. “And leaves and everything else. You drop a cigarette in there, the whole forest burns down. You’ve got to have forest management.”

When Wallace pressed him on whether he believes human-made greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, Trump said: “I think a lot of things do. But

1 2