Boredom never provoked such nostalgia. The vice-presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris has been a reminder of what politics was before Donald Trump and, perhaps, what it could be again. Few voices, little drama, zero authenticity, a lot of script … A face-to-face so little memorable that the most commented performance has been that of the fly that landed on Pence’s head for two eternal minutes.
With the exception of the starring role of the fly, the most memorable moment of this debate will undoubtedly be that of a candidate willing not to be stepped on. Kamala Harris has used multiple times the phrase “I’m speaking” to get away from Mike Pence’s interruptions, but the first of them has been while he was ugly by the management of the coronavirus in the first question of the night. The discussion about the pandemic has left the brightest moments of the Democratic candidate.
Harris began by recalling the numbers and saying that “Americans have witnessed the worst failure of a presidency in the history of our country “, but has been particularly good in addressing Trump’s refusal to give all the information on the severity of the pandemic to” stay calm. ” You have asked viewers directly how calm they were while the toilet paper ran out or “when you couldn’t take your children to see your parents because you thought you could kill them that way.”
It is true that Trump’s performance in the pandemic is not easy to defend, but Pence should have looked for something better than to accuse Biden of copying the president’s plans or say that Obama did worse with swine flu management in 2014. Nobody remembers the swine flu of 2014. His words about the contagion of Trump do not make much sense either, in particular his defense of the massive act in the White House among whose assistants already at least 11 positives have been identified. As much as it was outdoors, the images without masks and without distance they are unjustifiable.
The answers that were not given
In a decaffeinated debate, sometimes the news has been more in the evasions than in the answers themselves. Pence has been well remarking that Harris has openly ignored an important and very specific question: Is Biden going to increase the number of Supreme Court justices to surpass the current conservative majority? However, he himself has passed on two other vital questions without giving an answer.
Pence has been unable to say how his government intends to protect Americans with pre-existing illnesses if Obamacare health reform is repealed entirely, how those millions of people who insurers don’t want will be covered. Harris has reproached him very effectively. Nor has he been able to commit to a peaceful transition if he loses the election, although he has expressed it in a calmer tone than Trump.
A quiet debate that doesn’t change anything
Deep down both Mike Pence and Kamala Harris have done what they should do: do not make big mistakes. The vice presidential candidates have little to gain, because almost no one decides their vote with them in mind, but there is much to lose if they make serious mistakes. Tonight there have not been and although the debate has been less entertaining than Trump and Biden’s pitched battlePerhaps the electorate welcomes a bit of boring normality.
Even in moments of some tension, the discussion seemed choreographed and not overly intense. When Kamala Harris, the one who would be the first black vice president, has told Pence not to “teach her lessons” about the street protests, no sparks have sparked. Nor when the current vice president has defended Trump against accusations of having insulted war veterans and other military personnel. They have been two conventional politicians, measured and studied. A return to the past for 90 minutes.