The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
Tuesday, October 4th was the first and only vice-presidential debate, held in Farmville, Virginia where Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence went head-to-head. They talked over each other and even the mediator, Elaine Quijano, repeatedly had to tell them to stop because the viewers at home were not able to comprehend the banter. How exactly are they representing their presidential candidates? It just seems as though this whole election is a lot of back and forth bickering.
But what exactly is the point of the vice-presidential debates? Do we really hear what their plans on how to change policies are or how they will run the Senate? But regardless, the vice president goes hand-in-hand with who is voted president and the people do not have the option to select the next vice president individually. Does this become a disadvantage to the public when there could possibly be an awesome presidential candidate and a not-so-great vice president? There is a great deal of pressure put on the presidential nominee to select a experienced vice president who will similarly not outshine them. But the presidential nominees must also pick someone that can defend them with a strong backbone but who is also not controversial. The nominee needs to select a strong vice president because, like we saw last night, they need to defend their party and try to convince the public why their nominee is the best option.
Last night was a prime example of how the vice presidential nominee is selected to be able to defend the presidential nominee when needed. Kaine stated that putting nuclear weapons in the hands of a person with the temperament of Trump could lead to a catastrophic event because Trump does not know the difference between leadership and a dictatorship. Pence also said that Trump will gain the respect of other leaders such as Putin because of his strength and that essentially there is no arguing against that.
There have been many controversies surrounding the presidential candidates but not so much about vice-presidential candidates. Perhaps we should focus more attention on the vice president as well because in the event that the elected president is assassinated, impeached, or resigns, the vice president is next in line to lead our country. The debates should be more about the ideas and policies that they have in mind and how in line are those ideas with the general public and their ability to run the government in the event that such a tragedy does occur. In conclusion, the main spotlight is on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but we cannot forget that good leadership requires a strong team and the vice president should be the support that the president can always turn to.
Daniela Garcia is a 4th year political science major who holds positions in several organizations at Cal Poly Pomona.