Political analysts weigh in on Pence, Harris vice presidential debate

Posted at 4:50 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 18:41:13-04

The vice presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday evening between California Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence. 23ABC's Bayan Wang spoke with 23ABC political contributors on what they say viewers can expect.

23ABC political contributors Allen Bolar and Doctor Ivy Cargile would agree residents can expect a much more tempered vice presidential debate on Wednesday with a more subdued temperament, better policy discussions, and less of a resemblance to the shouting match than the presidential debate.

"I do expect it to be a probably a more substantive debate than the first one," said Bolar.

"Expectations are high particularly because the presidential debate last week did not go well at all," added Cargile.

The frequent interruptions and personal attacks during the presidential debate raised new expectations for some Kern County residents ahead of the vice presidential debate.

"I'd like to hear just substance and facts and policies and have each candidate talk about what they're going to do instead of trying to slam each other," said resident Brian Adams.

"Answer the questions, be upfront, be transparent so we can understand," added Terri Adams.

But can the vice president debate actually have an impact on voters?

Bolar, a political science professor at Bakersfield College said: "The truth of the matter, the big context is that vice presidential debates don't matter that much. The reality is that most people have already made up their mind and they've already decided who they were going to vote for."

But there's still a small percentage of undecided voters, that may be influenced by the debate.

According to Cargile with President Donald Trump contracting the coronavirus and questions surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden's health and age both of their running mates will attempt to show they can take over as president if the situation called for it.

"I think [Kamala Harris] has even a harder job than Mike Pence does because she's gotta be able to be man enough and woman enough all at the same time without seeming like she's not genuine and this weird character," said Cargile.

On the other hand, Bolar said Vice President Pence needs to lay out a more detailed future for the country.

"I would imagine that Pence wants to lay out the second-term agenda, which is something, to be honest, we haven't seen a lot of, it's not exactly clear besides some vague statements of 'Keep America Great.'"

Cargile also thinks that Harris will underscore the moment in the first presidential campaign where President Trump didn't appear to condemn white supremacy.

For Vice President Pence he may put pressure on Harris to answer a question that she and Biden have avoided: whether they would remove the filibuster from the Supreme Court and add additional justices.