Campus & Community

LIVE BLOG: Vice President Debate 2020

Thank you all for joining us in our live blog for the VP debate! I would like to thank co-writer Nadia Tejeda, Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Scalzo as producer, Chloe Colmenares and Naniyah McClain for social media, managing editor Amaya Morales, and Professor Krochmal, the advisor to The Equinox. Thank you, good night.

Post Debate Update

As my final thoughts, my prior is pretty intact. Pence did not overperform, but he also did not underperform. Van Jones on CNN said that Harris walked a thin line that many women of color play which he referred to as “strong, but not too strong.” This was a historic moment for having the first woman of color VP candidate in a debate. I ultimately think that with two more debates to go with Biden and Trump, this debate will go down on the backburner. Most Americans are not going to really remember it, though I think it has a better chance to be remembered than 2016, and there really aren’t many people watching the debate that are undecided. There aren’t many undecided either way. There will be polls over the next few days that will help clear which way the wind will blow, but my best guess is that nothing will have changed from this and that Biden is still the clear favorite, but not absolute favorite, to win the election. Also, if I had to say who won the debate, my answer is the fly

Post Debate Update

As I typed the last question, I went onto CNN and they were talking about the struggle that Harris had as a woman on the debate stage compared to Pence. There’s a stigma against women who ran for national office, which Palin has experienced as well as Clinton, that they are examined more closely, critically, and carefully from the public. There was also a bit of an unbalance between the speaking time. Pence was able to get his points across over his time more easily than Harris was able to.

Post Debate Update

Do you have any final thoughts Nadia?

NADIA: For the most part, we got a significant amount of information from both parties and I feel as though this debate touched on topics that, although may not have been answered entirely, have given me a sense of clarity as to where each candidate stands.

10:38 p.m.

I’m really going to be intrigued about the media narrative that is going to settle, which can be different through different outlets of course. My first initial thought is that Harris is going to get the sexist stigma that Hillary Clinton has gotten in her run.

10:36 p.m.

Harris responded by praising young leaders and their interest with wanting to know more about the stability of the leaders of our country

10:35 p.m.

I forgot before the debate how much of a career politician Pence is. He seemed professional and neat in a boring way, which is something that could help him in the future at some point, though he may be conceived as uncharismatic.

10:31 p.m.

Pence dodges the question on the transfer of power and instead of attacking the Democratic Party, mail-in voting. Not exactly confident in Democracy with that response.

10:28 p.m.

“I think we’re going to win this election” – Pence.

10:27 p.m.

The fly is dominating the debate. Sitting respectfully.

10:26 p.m.

I don’t get the purpose of attacking either Harris or Pence’s record when they are not running for president itself. It’s Biden v. Trump, not Harris v. Pence. Though it might make sense to cast negative remarks on the top of the ticket, it hasn’t been damaging for the past two months.

10:24 p.m.

Apparently there was a fly on Pence’s head (I missed it).

10:23 p.m.

Pence responded by bringing up the rioters that came after the death of George Floyd, instead of speaking on the injustice that Breonna Taylor faced.

10:22 p.m.

Harris is highlighting Trump’s recent refusal to condemn White Supremacy from the last debate, which was one of the key moments in the debate. She then highlighted the “both sides” comment that brought Trump’s lowest approval rating.

10:21 p.m.

Harris mentions that there will be police reform moving forward and a ban to knee holds. Harris also says that there will be more justice given to African-Americans.

10:20 p.m.

The moderator changes the subject to racial justice and brings up the case of 26-year old Breonna Taylor and Taylor’s injustice. The question asked: “Do you think Breonna Taylor was given justice?”

10:19 p.m.

Harris strategically dodges the question of expanding the court. This will probably be good news for liberals who have thought that the Court was losing its legitimacy with this current situation. Perhaps expanding the court may help lose it’s legitimacy, but at the same time it’s realistic that all the agenda for the Biden-Harris Administration will be struck down in a 6-3 court. Although that only is a possibility if Democrats win the Senate.

10:14 p.m.

Pence asks Harris if they are going to support packing the court. Public approval disapproves of it, but is it really a voting issue?

10:13 p.m.

Pence asks Harris if they are going to support packing the court. Public approval disapproves of it, but is it really a voting issue?

10:12 p.m.

Nadia, did Pence just go back to a question posed two minutes ago?

NADIA: Pence did in fact go back to the question previously asked. Let’s see how he further uses his time wisely, John.

10:10 p.m.

Harris turns her answer from the Court to Health Care. Health care remains one of the top winning issues for Biden which may be correlated to the current pandemic.

10:09 p.m.

I’m curious to see whether the question about court-packing will come up. It’s been said to remain “on the table” by Minority Leader Chuck Shumer and Biden avoided answering the question directly in the first debate.

10:08 p.m.

Before answering the question about the Supreme Court and abortion, Pence took his two-minute time frame to talk about how the American children are in safe hands and that they made the right decision with

10:05 p.m.

Do moderators even exist anymore?

10:03 p.m.

Harris points out the attacks that Trump made against McCain. Cindy McCain, the wife of late John McCain, recently endorsed Biden.

9:57 p.m.

I don’t believe foreign policy was a topic in the first presidential debate. At one point, it may make sense.  In a list of topics that ask which candidate voters will pick on each issue, foreign policy is not even listed. So, it might make sense to have foreign policy in a VP debate, but still foreign policy remains a critical role in the executive branch.

9:55 p.m.

Pence says that the cause of COVID-19 is the fault of China and Trump is not happy about that. Pence also mentioned that Biden was opposed to the decision Trump made to cease air travel to and from China.

9:53 p.m.

Harris points out that Biden helped save the auto-industry with the bailout. That was one of the key issues that possibly helped Obama in the Midwest in 2012.

9:50 p.m.

I would say that this is a very different picture than what Americans saw in the first debate. It’s too bad that this debate will be forgotten in one or two weeks. (Though in terms of 2016, this is more memorable and more interesting than Kaine v. Pence).

9:49 p.m.

“Joe Biden will not ban fracking” – Harris. Repeating the goals and positions of Biden.

9:48 p.m.

“Climate is changing.” Pence did not affirmatively say that he believes in climate change. Pence says that if the Green New Deal takes place, it will waste more environmental energy.

9:43 p.m.

Pence started by saying that his administration will protect pre-existing conditions, but his administration is challenging the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court which, if ruled unconstitutional, will cease the pre-existing condition protection that is a part of the law.

9:40 p.m.

Harris assured that Joe Biden will not raise taxes to those who make less than $400,000, and will not ban fracking.

9:39 p.m.

There was a bit of a teacher look from Harris between the back-and-forth interruptions.

9:37 p.m.

“American comeback is on the ballot” – Pence

9:36 p.m.

The economy is actually one of the issues that Trump fares better than the other issues.

9:35 p.m.

The debate turns to the economy.

9:34 p.m.

“Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes. When I first heard about it, I literally said $750,000? And it was, like, no, $750,” Harris said.

9:31 p.m.

Harris believes that the American people know how and why the President will create the decisions for the well-being of America. Harris also mentioned how Trump paid $750 in taxes for the past two years.

9:30 p.m.

Pence agrees that the American people should know going forward about the transparency of health issues.

9:29 p.m.

Harris is highlighting her background and experience. She is a first-time senator in California and the second Black woman and the first South Asian American senator. She is also the first woman of color to be selected as VP. 

9:26 p.m.

“It was a zoom call,” which Harris said when Biden selected her for VP, is the most relatable thing to be known for 2020.

9:25 p.m.

Pence believes there will be a COVID-19 vaccine before the end of this year. He recalls in 2009, when the swine flu epidemic took over America, Joe Biden was Vice President at the time. He says 6 million people were affected and believes that almost two million lives would’ve been lost had the swine flu been more lethal.

9:23 p.m.

“Stop playing politics with people’s lives” – Pence

9:22 p.m.

Dave Wasserman, editor of the Cook Political Report and reporter from NBC News said, “So far, Harris is far more effective than Pence (and even Trump/Biden) at communicating directly w/ the viewer.”

9:21 p.m.

Harris said if Trump said to take a vaccine, she will not take it. “If the doctors tell us to take it, I would be the first in line to take it. If Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it” – Harris

9:20 p.m.

Harris Says that the Trump Administration ‘did not care’ about the American people since they did not tell the American people what they knew about COVID-19.

9:18 p.m.

Pence talks about the Garden Rose event that has been cited as the source of COVID-19 outbreak and says it was an outside event

9:16 p.m.

Harris asks the American people a series of questions to ask how they felt through the beginning of the pandemic outbreak hysteria.

9:14 p.m.

Pence takes a jab at Biden with plagiarism that made him drop out of the 1988 race.

9:13 p.m.

Nadia, does the setting with the split screen and the blue background give 2016 deja vu? 

NADIA: To me it indeed does, John!

9:10 p.m.

Harris attacks the Trump Administration for the lack of action in the early preparation.

9:08 p.m.

The first topic is the coronavirus.

Pre-Debate Update 9:02 p.m.

I am coming into the debate with a mixed set of thoughts that often enough clash with one another. Vice presidential debates do not typically matter in terms of the election. I don’t think people are voting for the candidates based on their VP choice in particular. It’s more or less the candidate’s job to boost their top-line candidate to the American voters. 

This election, the jobs seem simple. Biden is leading in the national polls by a wide margin. And there has been evidence that Biden has extended his lead from the first debate to now. Harris needs to avoid moments that could lead to negative press over the coming days. Trump is down 9.5 points thanks to Biden’s debate bounce. 

Trump is also not viewed not favorable, so it is up to Pence to bump up Trump’s image for voters before it is too late. The struggle remains that Pence is a good debater and Harris was a former prosecutor. I suggest avoiding making expectations so broadly. My prior thought remains: both candidates will be fine and nothing will matter in the end.

Pre-Debate Update 8:58p.m.

NADIA: Thank you John for this opportunity. I’m actually excited, or moreso anxious to what this debate will entail. I hope that we actually get somewhere tonight with this debate!

Thanks for joining me tonight Nadia. It’s going to be a heavy 90-minute debate, though I am more certain it will be more organized than the first presidential debate. Do you have any thoughts going into tonight before the debate starts?

Pre-Debate Update 8:38 p.m.

Hello and welcome to The Equinox’s Live Blog for the one and only 2020 Vice Presidential Debate. Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence is facing off with the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. My name is Johnathan Miller, I cover politics for The Equinox and I’m joined by co-writer Nadia Tejeda, the producer is Elizabeth Scalzo, Editor in- Chief of The Equinox, and the social media team: Chloe Colmenares and Naniyah McClain, and managing editor Amaya Morales. 

The VP debate comes after President Trump tested positive for COVID-19, causing some concern about the safety regulations concerning the candidates. There has been a change in the position of the candidates. They were supposed to be seven feet apart, but that has changed to 12 feet. It also seems that there will be a plexiglass barrier to separate Pence and Harris. The debate will start at 9 p.m. The specific topics have not been made public. 

There are numerous outlets that will preview the debate. Here are some of the links to watch:




Johnathan Miller (Twitter: @JMiller_NJ) is a senior political science major from Lacey, N.J. He is glad to join the Equinox in covering the 2020 Presidential Election for students and to help students understand and participate in the political process.

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Democratic Vice President Nominee Kamala Harris and current Vice President Mike Pence face-off in tonight’s debate.

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