Pence vs. Harris

Ava Farahani, Online Editor

The first and only Vice-Presidential debate occurred between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, on Oct.7. To sum up, the two candidates discussed the issues over the COVID-19 pandemic, taxes, and the Supreme Court; all issues surrounding the 2020 Presidential Debate. 

The debate focused heavily on the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the week leading up to the Vice-Presidential debate, over two dozen people in Donald Trump’s orbit have contracted COVID-19. President Donald Trump, First-Lady Melania Trump, White-House press office staffer Chad Gilmartin, White-House press secretary Kayleigh Mcenany, and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel are just a few individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.


We’re going to have a vaccine in less than a year, in unheard-of time, we’re producing tens of millions of doses,” Vice-President Mike Pence said. 

In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Anthony Facui, the United State’s official infectious-disease expert, said that pharmaceutical companies would have millions of doses available by early 2021 for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

In respect to the subject of COVID-19, Vice-Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris said “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” accusing the Trump administration for dealing with COVID-19 as a hoax. At the end of January, Harris said that the President and Vice-President were informed about the airborne nature of the virus. “They knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you,” Harris said. “They knew and they covered it up.”


In response to taxes, Vice-President Pence accused Biden of wanting to “bury our economy in a $2 trillion Green New Deal,” and attempting to “abolish fossil fuels and ban fracking.” However, Biden’s tax plan would only raise taxes for American’s making more than $400,000 a year. He clearly also stated that he would not ban fracking and did not support the Green New Deal. 

In Harris’s point of view, the Donald Trump tax law benefited the “top 1% and the biggest corporations.” According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, a typical family of four people, earning approximately $73,000 received a $2,000 tax break in 2018. In over 50 years, the unemployment rate reached a record low of 3.5% during late 2019 as a part of the Trump administration. However, according to Alan Blinder, a member of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors and an economics professor at Princeton, the state of the economy is more influenced by what happened before [Trump] became president. By the time Trump inherited the economy, the unemployment rate was already on a downward trend.


During the Vice-Presidential Debate, Mike Pence aimed to make Vice-Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, to answer a question that she and Biden have been dodging: Do they support expanding the Supreme Court as many liberals are advocating?

Harris, however, preferred to talk about Republican’s decision to move forward with filling the current Supreme Court vacancy so close to an election. “I’m so glad we went through a little history lesson. Let’s do that a little more,” she said. Harris even mentioned that in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln didn’t think it right to fill a vacancy 27 days before an election. However, her statement regarding the filling of the Supreme Court vacancy is completely misleading because nowhere in the Constitution does it provide a time-limit for The President to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. It isn’t against the Constitution, it purely has to do with the fact that a Supreme Court Justice is a lifetime job and based-off of an individual’s perspective whether they support the Constitution or not.


Based on the claims and statement’s expressed by both candidates, deciding a notorious victor is a morbidly hard challenge. According to Melayne Price, a political scientist who specializes in Black politics “For the most part, Kamala Harris owned this debate […] unlike Biden, she was able to make her opponent stop talking and interrupting her.” On the contrary, Times columnist, Ross Douthat, argued that Vice-President Pence won the debate due to the level of difficulty for him to normalize the presidency of Donald Trump after their most strenuous week yet.