by Brooke Winters
With Election Day about one month away, the debates between the two parties continued Tuesday Oct. 4, between the Vice Presidential nominees Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. This was the one and only Vice Presidential debate of the election season. Absent on the debate stage were Gary Johnson’s VP, Bill Weld, and Jill Stein’s VP, Ajamu Baraka. Due to regulations involving poll performance they were unable to qualify, just as Johnson and Stein failed to qualify for the Presidential debates.
A group of students gathered in the 1867 lounge to watch the debate. The crowd was significantly smaller compared to the crowd that gathered for the hosting of the first presidential debate in McClendon’s lounge last week.
One student at the debate gathering, Nicole Arias (’17) said, “When it comes down to it, people are really only interested in the Presidential Debates. There is much more emphasis on the Presidential Debates, and for someone who isn’t as interested in politics these debates may not be of interest. I’m personally invested in politics and wanted to see how the debate turned out tonight.”
Another student, Gage Wheeler (’19), said he watched some of the debate. He went on to say, “The part I watched was when they were talking about reproductive rights. I personally thought Mike Pence’s argument was primitive. I didn’t care as much about this debate as I did for the Presidential Debate.”
At the debate, the candidates had to not only defend their ideological stances, but also defend their running mate’s records. Moderated by CBSN’s Elaine Quijano, the debate served as a proxy-war between Clinton and Trump. Kaine and Pence challenged each other on Clinton and Trump’s past statements on the campaign trail. For example, Kaine brought up Trump’s questionable Twitter history, while Pence hit Kaine with Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” comment. The two often interrupted each other, with the moderator attempted to steer the debate back on track.
Devin Kenny (’20) felt that the debate went off track very quickly. He said, “Mike Pence and Tim Kaine both interrupted each other far too many times, as well as their constant getting off track and both interrupting or straight out ignoring of Elaine Quijano and her efforts of trying to get them back on track. Kaine is much less professional than Clinton when it comes to debates, while Pence is clearly more experienced than Trump at debating. He was a lot more, you could say, Presidential, than Trump, a better temperament for the job. In my opinion, neither Pence nor Kaine did a proficient job in saying why you should vote for Clinton over Trump, or Trump over Clinton. They really just did not add anything of substance to my feelings of either campaign.”
Other recent significant events include Gary Johnson’s interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. During the interview, Matthews asked Johnson to name a foreign leader who he admires. Johnson struggled to name one and joked he was having ‘an Aleppo moment,’ referring to his past gaffe of asking, “What is Aleppo?” in response to another MSNBC reporter’s question about the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis.
If you are a New Jersey resident planning to vote in November, the deadline to register to vote is Oct. 18. The next Presidential Debate will air on Sunday, Oct. 9, and will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.