By Gianno Caldwell
The vice-presidential debate is always a yawn fest. On Wednesday night, though, the American people better stay awake when Mike Pence and Kamala Harris take the stage. This VP debate may be the most important one ever.
Beginning in 1976, the event has never moved the needle of presidential politics much — let alone carried a campaign to victory. The nation’s focus has always been on the two candidates at the top of the tickets — in this case President Trump and Joe Biden.
But if you watched Trump and Biden debate each other last week, then you watched a train wreck lacking gravitas for both candidates. They missed easy questions and spent the night squabbling, supporting — or confirming — many of our biggest concerns.
Biden was befuddled and lied time after time. He claimed, for example, he doesn’t support the Green New Deal and other radical left-wing causes. A quick look at his website or a simple Google search shows that is a blatant lie.
Trump failed to denounce white supremacy clearly, despite doing so in the past and recently unveiling his Platinum Plan for Black Americans, which aims to designate the KKK as a terrorist group — something that President Obama never did. Trump’s performance put a bad taste in the mouths of many Americans, including Trump supporters who bemoaned his actions.
Focus groups and data after the debate suggests some Americans who watched were so turned off by what they saw won’t watch another presidential debate this season. Some Americans say they “won’t even vote now.”
In 2012, an unprepared Barack Obama took a shellacking during a debate from Mitt Romney, and Democrats looked to then-Vice President Joe Biden to save the news cycle. This time around, the Trump campaign is counting on Pence — especially now that President Trump has contracted the coronavirus.
While we pray for our president and first lady to recover quickly, the country remains on edge. Indeed, the stakes are the highest they’ve been in decades. And now President Trump will have to be off the campaign trail during his quarantine right before the most meaningful days of the election.
Amid a pandemic, burning cities, unstable markets, and racial unrest, strong leadership is essential today and over the next four years.
There’s a chance that Pence or Harris could serve as president one day. In fact, Biden has called himself a “transition” candidate whose job is to act as a bridge to a younger generation of Democrats, causing many observers to wonder whether Biden would only be a one-term president or cede much power to his vice president. Harris has also referred to a “Harris administration” should she and Biden win in November. Add concerns over Biden’s mental health to the mix, and it becomes clear that Harris may be positioned to become a uniquely powerful vice president if Biden wins.
In their upcoming debate, perhaps Pence and Harris can say all the things their no. 1s were supposed to without the self-indulgent bickering.
It should be easy enough for both. Harris is more representative of the radical, far-left agenda that Democrats have embraced in recent years. And Pence has often been an anchor for the Republican Party and authentic conservatism during Trump’s presidency.
As a conservative, I am proud that Mike Pence can provide a cogent list of conservative accomplishments — such as an upgraded military, a booming economy pre-coronavirus, record-low unemployment, thoughtful judicial nominations, policies, and laws that better support African-Americans and a long list of future plans should the Trump administration continue for another four years.
Pence has been one of the most consistent voices of conservatism for years, and this debate will be a perfect opportunity to reintroduce conservative ideals.
I expect the left to criticize the Trump administration on the issue of faith — after all, Democrats and the media just spent a week lambasting Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for her faith. I implore Pence not to back down on this front but instead explain why we are a country that worships God over government.
As I discuss with Herschel Walker on the first episode of my new podcast, Outloud with Gianno Caldwell, faith has been paramount to the forward movement of millions of Americans, especially during our country’s most trying times. This year is no different. Faith shall continue to uplift countless lives. If Democrats try to paint Pence into a “religious corner,” I can only hope he thanks them and explains to the American people why he wouldn’t have it any other way.