It may also mark a historic second, as Harris turns into the primary Black and South Asian girl to take part in a common election presidential marketing campaign debate.
Pence and Harris share tickets with two of the oldest males to run for president — the 74-year-old Trump and the 77-year-old Democratic nominee, Joe Biden — placing an additional emphasis on their roles because the second in command.
Here are 5 things to watch in Wednesday night time’s debate:
Distance and plexiglass limitations
Even earlier than the pandemic is talked about at Wednesday night time’s debate, its presence will probably be apparent.
Debate organizers, in response to the unfold of the coronavirus contained in the White House and the truth that Pence was at an occasion that was seemingly the genesis of the White House unfold simply over every week in the past, made various adjustments to their security protocols, together with placing Pence and Harris greater than 12 ft aside, utilizing plexiglass as limitations between the candidates and requiring everybody within the viewers put on masks.
The coronavirus dangers across the debate led some Democrats to query why the competition was even taking place, significantly given Pence’s proximity to those that have lately examined constructive. Jesse Schonau, Pence’s doctor, mentioned in a memo launched Tuesday that the vice chairman doesn’t want to quarantine as a result of he was not a “close contact” of anybody who has examined constructive as outlined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pence has had a number of adverse coronavirus exams.
But the adjustments to the format will make some extent that Pence, who chairs the administration’s coronavirus activity pressure, and the Trump marketing campaign are in search of to keep away from: The pandemic has upended almost each side of American life, together with the way in which the nation holds political debates.
Pence’s staff challenged the set up of plexiglass limitations round him on the debate after the fee introduced that they’d be used, earlier than finally agreeing to their set up.
But their resistance highlighted how the Trump marketing campaign desires to keep away from the omnipresence of the coronavirus and the fear amongst some within the President’s orbit that it might set a precedent for the forthcoming debates between Trump and Biden.
Harris’ problem on coronavirus
Trump has tried to solid his Covid analysis and supposed restoration as a bonus. In his telling, he is a fearless chief who took on the virus and triumphed — setting a mannequin for bravery within the face of a pandemic.
He’s made no point out of these in his inside circle who’ve fallen unwell, nor the others on the White House employees — political and nonpartisan professionals — who’re sick now. Empathy for the greater than 210,000 Americans to die from the illness, and their households, has additionally been absent from his public statements.
For Harris, the problem is to use this huge stage and draw a line — clear sufficient for anybody to see and unattainable to ignore — from Trump’s dealing with of the pandemic as President to the rising fiasco inside his administration.
She should do that whereas the President’s personal prognosis stays unknown. And even when, as Biden mentioned on Monday night time, his an infection is essentially the results of his personal refusal to observe normal security procedures, private broadsides towards him whereas he’s battling the virus might carry some potential danger.
Pence wants to undertaking calm
It has been a chaotic week for the Trump marketing campaign, punctuated by the President himself testing constructive for the virus and spending three days within the hospital however starting with a frenzied debate between the President and Biden.
Pence’s targets in Wednesday night time’s debate are to undertaking a relaxed that Trump was unable to sign final week, whereas defending the administration’s dealing with of the pandemic and delivering the Trump marketing campaign’s messaging that the virus mustn’t dominate American life.
It’s a tough activity: More than 210,000 Americans have died from the virus, small companies throughout the nation have been decimated and the prospect of extra financial stimulus for Americans was rejected on Tuesday night when the President urged Republicans to stroll away from negotiations with Democrats, tanking the inventory market.
But Pence, in accordance to individuals who know him properly or have debated him previously, is likely one of the most expert politicians at redirecting a query to a subject he desires to give attention to.
“Mike is a good debater,” mentioned John Gregg, an Indiana Democrat who went to regulation college with Pence and ran towards him for governor in 2012. “On certain questions that he gets, if he doesn’t want to answer it, he is just a master at not answering it and pivoting to talking points.”
Harris faces the ghosts of insurance policies previous
Harris entered the Democratic presidential major as a supporter of “Medicare for All,” the nationwide medical insurance plan written and championed by her competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
By the time she dropped out, in December 2019, the senator from California had rowed again her assist and unveiled her personal plan, which known as for transitioning to a government-run program over 10 years however permitting non-public insurers to take part.
Now she is making the case for Biden and his proposal to beef up the Affordable Care Act and create a public possibility on prime of it.
Trump and Pence do not have a reputable well being care plan of their very own, however that will not cease the vice chairman from making an attempt to paint Harris as a software of the “radical left” over each her preliminary backing of Medicare for All and her personal proposal. Her means to pivot out of that dialog and into one in regards to the present administration’s insurance policies, each on the pandemic and their assist for a lawsuit that threatens the ACA, might be a defining second.
In the primary presidential debate, Biden would not instantly reply a query about whether or not he would assist rising the variety of justices on the Supreme Court. He has additionally not given a yes-or-no reply to whether or not he would assist — if Democrats win management of the Senate — abolishing the filibuster.
Trump could not get solutions from Biden, however Pence would possibly strive to press Harris on these questions as he seeks to argue that the Biden-Harris ticket is beholden to the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, which has sought the adjustments.
Pence, in the meantime, might have to deal with Trump’s seesawing tweets Tuesday about an financial stimulus. The President took to Twitter to announce that he had ended negotiations with Pelosi over a large financial bundle. Then, hours later, he tweeted “True!” in response to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell arguing for extra monetary assist from Congress.