Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Sen. Kamala Harris traded barbs through plexiglas shields Wendesday night in the one and only vice presidential debate of the 2020 election.
The Democratic Party of Langlade County did not gather in person for the debate; rather, the members collaborated via various digital avenues while viewing.
The party issued the following response to the debate:
“Kamala Harris won last night’s vice presidential debate with her clear and unwavering responses to the questions put before her. She placed responsibility for the chaotic Covid-19 pandemic response squarely on President Trump.
“He was made aware of vital information on this deadly disease as early as January and withheld it from the American people. This lack of transparency has contributed to over 210,000 deaths to date. States were left to fend for themselves due to a lack of a unifying national response from the Trump administration.
“Ms. Harris also defended the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land that protects people with pre-existing health conditions. The ACA also keeps children on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 and eliminates lifetime caps. She pointed out that the current administration has done everything in its power to repeal the ACA without having a plan of its own to replace it.
“One of the most striking ‘responses’ came when Vice President Pence was asked if there would be a peaceful transfer of power should they lose the election in November. He did not answer.
“This should have been a very easy question for the vice president of a constitutional democracy. The question should have been answered with a resounding yes. The USA is a democracy and whoever wins this election should graciously be handed the reins of power.”
Several party members shared their personal responses to the debate as well. Gary Whitman believed this debate was an improvement over the presidential version.
“The tenor and tone of this debate was more civilized than the most recent presidential debate,” Whitman observed. “There was no shouting, but the vice president demonstrated that he feels that rules are there to be ignored. He consistently overran his time limit and answered questions that were not related to those asked.
“In terms of COVID-19, the vice president said that he trusts the American people to do the right thing when it comes to protecting themselves and others from the pandemic. This administration has downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19 since the beginning. The wearing of masks has been ignored and ridiculed.
“So what is this right thing that the American people are supposed to do? The president holds large rallies and hosts super spreader events at the White House. Most states are experiencing record infection rates.”
Another local Democrat, Sheryl Perkins, said, “Sen. Harris was clearly energetic, without being combative, in her responses to the questions. Her strongest responses pertained to the health care issue of coverage for folks with pre-existing conditions, and that those will disappear if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act; also, how overturning the ACA in the middle of an epidemic will harm millions of people.
“Sen. Harris was strong in her responses to racial injustices, and her experiences as a prosecutor and attorney general. She was well-informed on foreign policy and especially the need for our country to have allies.”
Antigo resident Mary Hayes felt that Pence’s demeanor left something to be desired in the respect department.
“Pence accused Harris of not answering a question, when in fact he answered almost none of the questions posed to him,” Hayes said. “His continual droning on and on after his time was up showed a lack of respect to the moderator and Senator Harris.
“Many outright lies were told by Pence in that calm, deliberate tone of his. ‘Trump revived the economy.’ Trump inherited a thriving economy. Even before the covid recession, the growth rate was no higher than what the administration calls the anemic recovery under Obama.
“Finally, I cannot think of an adjective to describe Trump tweeting this morning than Harris is a ‘monster.’ That is completely beyond the pale. Harris is an accomplished, intelligent United States senator who exhibited a great deal of poise and control while dealing with Vice President Pence’s interruptions and ramblings.”