Get your popcorn ready: The first vice presidential debate is tonight at 9 p.m. E.T.
(Sophia Sanders / Rowdy Magazine Graphic Designer)
In the first presidential debate, we saw constant interruptions by President Trump and former Vice President Biden fighting to get a word in. It was almost a shame the debate couldn’t take place on a Zoom call, where a mute button would be handy. Will Pence and Harris follow suit? Or, will it be more professional, to say the least?
In our current polarized political climate, Republicans and Democrats are at each other's throats, arguing over every policy and issue. These debates give our representatives a platform so we can truly see who they are and what they stand for.
Usually, these vice presidential debates are much less anticipated than the presidential. But considering one vice-presidential candidate was a former presidential nominee and a powerhouse in the primary debates, and the other is eerily too close in line to take over the presidency after Trump tested positive for COVID, things just got all the more interesting.
Who are the vice presidential candidates? Let’s take a closer look at each of their backgrounds and what they stand for.
Kamala Harris, a 55-year-old California Senator, is the Democratic vice presidential nominee running alongside Joe Biden. Before her presidential campaign days, she was a state attorney, from 2011 until 2017. If she and Biden get elected, she would be the first vice presidential woman of color as a biracial Black and South Asian woman.
Mike Pence has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” As current vice president, he has been President Trump’s right-hand man. Pence is from Indiana and served as an Indiana lawmaker and governor. Both Pence and Trump have advanced the conservative agenda, such as backing out of the Paris Agreement.
Now, let's get into the juicy stuff:
Co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which is geared towards creating better abortion access.
Wants to repeal the Hyde Act, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.
Pro-life, so much so that he once called abortions, “the most pressing moral issue of our time."
In January 2017, Pence became the first vice president to speak at a March for Life rally.
In the Senate, Pence had a rare tie-breaking vote to allow states to withhold Planned Parenthood funds and other pressing issues.
The scientific evidence of climate change is indisputable — humans are negatively affecting the planet.
Historically denounced climate change claims, and in interviews he has brushed off.
Has gone as far as calling climate change a myth.
Supported anti-environmental policies and plans, such as voting against limiting greenhouse gas emissions and refusing to implement the Clean Power Plan, which was a plan to reform power plants and their greenhouse gas emission.
Avidly supported the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Backs Biden’s environmental plan, which includes two aspects: environmental justice for minority communities and accountability for the oil and gas industry.
Supports AOC’s Green New Deal, which is a legislative aim to address climate change and economic inequality.
With the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality and murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the issue of police funding is a topic widely debated.
Will not defund the police
Stood against violent protests
Has said in August in Iowa, “You have a president, you have an administration that is committed to law and order and to supporting the men and women who serve on the thin blue line.”
Harris has a conflicting background with her criminal justice record; she has incarcerated numerous Black Americans for drugs the possession of minor drugs such as marijuana
Although many progressives support defunding the police, Harris and Biden do not support that notion.
Harris’s platform included plans to increase funding for departments, provide better equipment such as body cameras, address officer wellness and civilian oversight programs.
Wants to see law enforcement reforms
Anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion stances are much more drastic than the typical conservative.
Helped implement transgender bans in the military, and also helped facilitate discriminatory laws.
Historically supported the LGBTQ+ community.
As San Francisco’s Attorney General, Harris established a hate crimes unit to investigate and prosecute anti-LGBTQI+ violence in 2004.
However, Harris has not always backed the LGBTQ+ community, and in 2015 as attorney general in California she argued on behalf of the state to withhold gender reassignment surgery from two transgender inmates
More recently, she has helped co-sponsored the Equality Act, spoken out against violence trans women face, and supported LGBTQ+rights.
Wants to make more tax cuts
Claims the economy has been strong and will recover from the pandemic
Pushing to reopen the economy, despite health expert’s concerns
In the past few months due to the pandemic, she has co-sponsored legislation that helped give millions of Americans $2,000 a month and banning evictions
Will focus on ending economic disparities between racial and gender groups
Michelle Holder is an Online and Print Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She is passionate about international affairs and travel. You can typically find her buried in a book or drinking expressos at local coffee shops. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter @michellecholder.