What We Learned From The Vice Presidential Debate
As we geared up for the first, and only, vice presidential debate of the 2016 election, many of us were able to prepare for the debate with somewhat of a deep sigh of relief, almost as if to say, “Whew! The grown folks are at the table now.” From the beginning, that’s the exact vibe that the audience got as the two shook hands and almost looked like the real presidential candidates. It didn’t take long, however, for me to reach for the bottle of wine I bought specifically for this debate and continue to pour several glasses during the course of the 90-minute debate.
The debate got off to a solid start with Mike Pence started off by thanking Norwood University at the start of his opening comments. The only problem there was the fact he missed the memo from the interns that the debate was being held at Longwood University. Now, aside from that gaffe, there was more policy discussed during this debate than I think was talked about in any debate the past 10 months, so I can’t knock either candidate in that category. Both Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, throughout the entire debate, made it clear that they stand on opposite sides of the political fence on a number of topics; most notably, police reform.
Tim Kaine came out of the batter’s box swinging, immediately calling for police reform after acknowledging that police officers have a tremendously difficult job, in which he is correct. A police officer’s job is difficult, but that particular argument has never been called into question. What was called into question tonight was ‘implicit bias.’ Mike Pence made it clear Tuesday night that he doesn’t believe implicit bias exists within police because his example of a black police officer says so, while even stating implicit bias is a “wrongful accusation against men and women in police uniform.” The problem with Pence’s argument, though, is that he was referring to ‘explicit bias’ and not ‘implicit bias.’ Implicit bias is not, and never has been, a form of “accusation” or “assuming the worst” of someone. Implicit bias is a cognitive level form of attitude or stereotype, which is something that has been proven to universally exist in all humans. So, by saying cops “portray a type of implicit bias” is not calling out all cops as racist, it is simply saying there is a stereotype that exists inside of them, as it does with all humans, that causes them to see black men and women of this country to be seen as a threat for no reason at all and the problem with not understanding that stereotype is that it has led to the wrongful deaths of a completely unreasonable amount of black men and women of this country.
Now, Pence and Kaine would soon agree on “community policing” and the rest of the debate would end up going just as one would assume a vice presidential debate to go. Kaine would go on to interrupt Pence when he brought up topics like ‘Obamacare’ and cyber warfare, making Kaine look inferior multiple times during the debate. Pence, however, didn’t go without his own mistakes, especially by saying Trump is “not a polished politician” and failing, multiple times, to neither clarify any of Trump’s own idiotic quotes that Kaine pulled out of his pocket like dollar bills. With the amount of subtle laughing and shrugging of the shoulders on Pence’s behalf, at one point I even thought he would eventually say, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” because he didn’t look like the had anything to say in regards to answering for his own running mate.
Overall, many will say Pence won Tuesday night’s debate. Which is true, Pence did claim victory. However, Pence is not the one running for president and very seldom did he even attempt at defending Trump for being president. So, did the vice presidential debate do anything in regards to changing voters’ minds in regards to who they might vote for next month? Probably not. This debate did, however, lay out a number of policies that was lacking in the previous presidential debate and that is something viewers can at least walk away happy about. The vice presidential debate was far less of a circus than the presidential debate was. Imagine that.