From formality to focal point: Why the 2020 VP debate matters
To the editor: After the news of President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, all eyes are suddenly turning toward the VP candidates. President Donald Trump is 74 years old and Joe Biden is 77, making either of them the oldest U.S. president in history if elected. With old age comes greater health risk, especially during a global pandemic. According to a Pew Research Center survey, Biden’s age and health are chief among his supporters’ concerns about him as a candidate. Alternatively, Vice President Mike Pence is 61 years old and Senator Kamala Harris is 55. It may be grim, but voters are looking to see a viable replacement in preparation for the worst.
After last Tuesday’s debate, Americans were left speechless. The one thing it did well is capture just how divided this nation is. Most political scientists, including Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute, recognize the deeply rooted polarization in America today and predict that the presidential debates will not likely change the results of the election because voters have made up their mind. The polls, especially at the state level, have been extremely consistent, with only a small percentage of undecided voters remaining. This debate may not change the results of the 2020 election directly, but it could begin shaping the race in 2024.
The most valuable part of the vice presidential debate this year will be seeing how each campaign is framing the events of the past week, from the disastrous first debate to President Trump’s health scare. Not only will Americans be hearing from the VP candidates, but through them, a message from Trump and Biden. This is an opportunity to set a tone for the final month of the campaign, and one can be sure that both parties are planning on taking advantage of it.