Pence plows on in the first and only VP debate with Harris

Gustaf Kilander
2 min readOct 10, 2020


This debate won’t change much, but the lasting impression was two candidates avoiding questions and Pence repeatedly plowing on over his allotted time. Pence delivers the conservative message, which is very similar to Trump’s, but the way he puts it forward is wholly different.

Pence, like Trump, was putting forward misleading and blatantly false claims, but his tone made it seem like the debate was a step back to normalcy. Harris on the other hand was not her social media moment creating self, like in the primary and during Senate hearings.

This was probably part of the plan because she’s no longer trying to win over the Democratic base, she’s trying to win over the few undecided voters who are left. Biden/Harris are in the lead, so avoiding unforced errors is vital at this point in the campaign.

Pence skirting the rules will probably go unnoticed when compared to Trump’s performance in the first debate. People kept blaming the moderator, but when a candidate is refusing to abide by the rules, there’s not much that can be done that would fly in a TV debate.

A few takeaways:

Pence had to create an Earth 2 to defend the White House’s handling of the pandemic by suggesting that the Obama administration’s handling of the swine flu would have been worse if it had been as deadly as COVID. The problem with that is of course that it just wasn’t.

210 000 Americans have died because of COVID so far.

12 000 Americans died because of the swine flu.

To make a comparison just didn’t seem to make any sense. Pence was digging deep to deflect the Trump administration’s handling of COVID.

Harris deflected on the filibuster and packing the court. Maybe the Senate’s love for its bipartisan past is fading and the reality of abolishing the filibuster to get anything done is dawning on some of its past and current members.

Pence deflected on Roe v Wade. Conservatives seem to be aware of how unpopular their socially conservative policies are and aim to hide their true goals from an American people with whom they are clearly out of step.



Gustaf Kilander

DC Journalist from Sweden with a BA from the UK