Tonight, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence square off in the only Vice Presidential debate of the campaign season.
While Vice Presidential debates often take a backseat to the more frequent Presidential debates, of which there are usually three, this year’s debate may be different. As reported by CNN, the stakes for the debate are unusually high since President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis may put a stop to further Presidential debates.
The news site also remarks on the history of the moment, in which Harris will become “the first Black and South Asian woman to participate in a general election presidential campaign debate.”
Among the issues anticipated for tonight’s debate is the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus. Following Trump’s diagnosis in the wake of last week’s presidential debate, the candidates tonight will be staged 12 feet apart and will be shielded behind plexiglass barriers — a measure which Pence’s team initially pushed back against.
But while Pence was appointed lead on the White House’s coronavirus response — and is likely to face questions about this tonight — the New York Times reports that recent polls conducted by CNN and ABC News/Washington Post show the pandemic has not varnished the Vice President’s image.
The Times also reports that Harris is the only candidate who averages a net-positive in national polling. However, as NPR reports, “there are lots of expectations for Harris, and she needs to deliver a solid performance to keep the Biden train moving forward.” Pence is also likely to tie Harris tonight further to the “radical left,” NPR also reports, a line of attack with the Vice President already signaled in a Fox News interview.
The debate will happen tonight at 9 p.m. EST and will be broadcasted on major networks and news outlets. It takes place on the campus of the University of Utah.