The upcoming vice presidential debate on Tuesday is of unprecedented significance as questions about President Trump’s health loom less than a month before the U.S. presidential election. It could also be a turning point for Mr Trump’s re-election bid. With less than a month left in the campaign, polls show Trump trailing Biden significantly, experts say.
Vice President Mike Pence will face off against Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, in Salt Lake City at 9 p.m. Et on Wednesday. Meanwhile, The Trump campaign continues to be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Mr. Pence has often struggled in Mr. Trump’s shadow, and that has put him under enormous pressure.
Mr Pence needs to show the public that he is ready to take over if circumstances demand it. At the same time, he will need to defend the Trump administration’s handling of the seven-month crisis that has killed more than 210,000 Americans. Harris, on the other hand, will have to prove to voters that, if they win the November 3 election, she too can serve as President, if necessary, at some point during the 77-year-old Biden’s term. In recent weeks, Harris has been largely out of the spotlight as Biden has stepped up his campaign travel efforts.
Traditionally seen as a complement to the three presidential debates, the vice presidential debate was watched by fewer voters and did little to change public opinion. “This debate is different,” said Christopher Devine, an expert on the vice presidency at the University of Dayton. “Some people may be worried about Mike pence, how he can be if asked to carry it out. Others question His ability to stay healthy.”
Burns and Harris will be separated from the stage by 12 feet (3.7 meters) of plexiglass, more than the originally agreed 7 feet (2 meters). All participants in the debate, including members of the media, will be required to undergo a coronavirus test. Anyone who does not wear a mask will be “escorted out”, the debate committee said. Masks were mandatory for the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, but some, including members of the Trump family, took them off. On Tuesday, Harris tested negative again. Mr. Pence’s doctor said On Tuesday that his tests also continue to be negative.
Mr. Pence will try to slow the momentum of Mr. Biden and Mr. Harris, something Mr. Trump was unable to do in the debate. Mr. Pence, an even-tempered communicator who hosted a radio show when he was a member of the United States House of Representatives, was more effective on the debate stage than Mr. Trump, said Michael Steel. Mr. Steele has worked with Mr. Pence. “The vice president can make a more compelling and thoughtful case for the Trump administration’s record,” he said. “He has a greater capacity for debate than the President.” “Steele said. But Mr. Pence must divert voters’ attention away from the first presidential debate and the flurry of negative press coverage surrounding Mr. Trump’s recent confirmation and subsequent hospitalization.
“Trump did poorly in the first debate of 2016, and Pence did well in the subsequent debate,” said Steve Pavlick, policy director at Renaissance Macro Research. At the time, a CNN poll showed that viewers thought Pence had won the debate. He added: “If Trump is going to come back this time, Pence will have to have a really good debate to gain some momentum.” “This happened in 2016, so it’s not unprecedented, but the stakes are really high.”
An official with Biden’s campaign told Reuters that the campaign was bracing for a possible attack by Pence on Harris, suggesting she is on the left of the Democratic mainstream. Harris has always been known for asking questions. She has previously criticized the response of the administration led by Pence to the coronavirus. On Wednesday, her goal may be to reiterate those criticisms, not to attack the recovering Mr. Trump himself. “It’s a delicate balance,” says Professor Devine. “Harris is probably better prepared than most because she’s been on the national stage before.” But Pence could also argue that Trump has recovered and, like Trump, said, “You shouldn’t be afraid. You shouldn’t have the same level of fear that you had in March. The Democrats are scaremongering.” This is the message That Pence needs to deliver in order to respond to questions about the epidemic and turn them to his advantage.
In the meantime, the historic nature of Harris’s vice-presidential candidacy may be another factor attracting more attention. According to Nielsen Media Research data cited by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the two most-watched vice presidential debates in history took place in 1984 and 2008, when Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin were the first and second female vice-presidential candidates of any major party in history. ‘This year, for the first time, women have a chance to win,’ said Joel Goldstein, a professor emeritus at St. Louis University Law School. He noted that Walter Mondale and John McCain were themselves underdogs when it came to choosing female running mates. “In every case, the choice is all or nothing, but this time Biden is favored.”