Preview of the Vice Presidential Debate

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Background:  

On October 4th, Vice Presidential candidates Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) will participate in the only Vice Presidential debate, which will be held at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. The debate will be moderated by Elaine Quijano, an anchor for CBS News. Quijano will ask opening questions in a debate that will be broken into nine separate ten-minute sections.

Candidates: 

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, is the sitting junior senator from Virginia. He previously served as the Mayor of Richmond, the Governor of Virginia, and the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. While Kaine is a longstanding member of the Democratic Party, he has opposed some aspects of the social Democratic platform such as abortion. Kaine has been seen as a more cautious VP pick for Clinton by many left wing Democrats, who hoped for [someone like… add examples + links to pieces talking about those]. However, Kaine is a fluent Spanish speaker, which may help him appeal to crucial Hispanic voters in Florida and Arizona. Although Kaine was one of the first prominent Democrats to endorse then-Senator Barack Obama during his 2008 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, he will take the stage in 2016 as Hillary Clinton’s running mate and the Democratic Nominee for Vice President.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is the sitting Governor of Indiana. He previously served as a 12-year member of the US House of Representatives from Indiana’s 2nd and 6th districts. Pence is an ardent social and economic conservative who has worked to defund Planned Parenthood, abolish the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th amendment, and remove any government funding of LGBT organizations. While Pence stands behind Trump on the Republican ticket, Pence has occasionally distanced himself from Trump, including during Trump’s very public feud with the Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen American soldier who spoke in support of Secretary Clinton during the Democratic National Convention.

Does the VP debate even matter?

The Vice President sits in a crucial position. At eight points in U.S. History, American presidents have died in office, leaving their vice presidents to assume the office. Imagine how different history could have turned out if Lincoln instead of Johnson reconstructed the south. If Roosevelt instead of Truman had dropped the atomic bomb and met Stalin at Potsdam. If Kennedy instead of Johnson had navigated the US through the middle of the Cold War. If elected 70-year-old Donald Trump would be the oldest President ever inaugurated. 68-year-old Hillary Clinton would be the 2nd oldest President ever elected only behind Ronald Reagan. While both candidates are in very good health, some voters may place more importance on the Vice Presidential nominee with older Presidential candidates running. Additionally, the VP will play a big role in foreign policy and senate briefings in either administration. Pence has proposed strong measures to combat ISIL in Syria while Kaine has often criticized Obama and has suggested humanitarian no fly zones in the country. Lastly, if the current real clear politics Senate projections pan-out the Senate will be stuck at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans meaning the Vice President will serve the crucial job of breaking ties in the Senate.




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