The Vice-Presidential Debate

By Cayle Suntken

While the average knows who the main presidential candidates are, it’s a completely different story with vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine respectively. The Vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night was a perfect opportunity for the two candidates to defend their platforms in front of a national televised audience.

“If the polls are close such as this year they can convince undecided voters,” explains Steffan Schmidt, a political professor at Iowa State University. “If a candidate blows it that can be the end of their campaign. A super strong showing can be the necessary push to put someone over the top.”


Mike Pence, who is Republican candidate Donald Trump’s running mate, is the incumbent governor of Indiana. Pence is a prominent member of the Tea Party movement, which is a grassroots conservative that aims to cut taxes and government spending.

Tim Kaine, who is candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate, began his political career as a member of the Richmond, Va. City Council in 1994. He became the mayor of Richmond in 1998. After a stint as a lieutenant governor, Kaine became the governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010. He was also the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. He is now serving the state of Virginia as a junior senator.

The two candidates squared off in a national televised debate Wednesday night at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. The debate was moderated by Elaine Quijano, who is a correspondent for CBS News. The main topics of the said debate included a mix of domestic and foreign policies offered by both candidates. One aspect of the debate that was noted by commentators is the fact that Tim Kaine interrupted Mike Pence a total of 70 times (Pence interrupted Kaine 40 times in comparison).


According to a poll conducted by CNN, 48 percent of potential voters thought that Mike Pence won the debate while the other 42 percent of voters thought that Tim Kaine won the debate. This was a far cry from the poll of the first debate, which favored Hillary Clinton as the winner (although the poll suggests a more Democratic favoritism compared to similar polls). Despite this victory, Pence was criticized for not defending Donald Trump on certain issues such as his tax returns and his supposed ties to Russia.

This will be the only vice-presidential debate in the election cycle. However, there will be two more presidential debates in the month before election day. According to the poll aggregation website 270towin, Hillary Clinton has an average of 48 percent compared to Donald Trump’s 43 percent average. Whether or not the two last two debates in this election cycle will have impact remains to be seen.


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