Partners in the Oval Office: The Vice Presidential Debate and Other Notes

Caroline Albacete '17, Editor-in-Chief

Can there ever be another pair such as Barack Obama and Joe Biden? The two appear to the be the best of friends (with matching bracelets to prove it!), who always have each other’s backs and support their governmental policies. But time is running short for this bromance, and a new pair must step up to claim the spotlight.

Of the two presidential candidates and their vice-presidential pairs, which has the stronger relationship? Hillary Clinton and Tom Kaine? Or Donald Trump and Mike Pence? What have the recent debates shown us?

On October 4th, 2016, the two vice-presidential candidates had at each other on live television in the first and only VP debate. Kaine made sure to reaffirm his belief in Hillary with every other word, while Pence dodged the attacks on Trump that Kaine sent his way. Pence didn’t defend his partner, while Kaine aggressively stepped up for his. The problem, as countless have reported, is that Kaine came off as too aggressive and Pence as not invested enough in his party. Kaine came out swinging as though Hillary had lost the last debate and he had to make up for it by attacking Trump’s character. Pence was very laid back, playing up to his small town roots, acting as thought there was no need to defend Trump because he had won the last debate (though it really just looked like he disagreed with his partner and didn’t want to say it out loud).

So far, the conclusion we can draw about the two pairs is this: Kaine and Hillary provide a united front, particularly in attacking Trump, and are complementary in that she remains composed and is not generally trusted by the public while he is more willing to attack, but is beloved by the masses. Meanwhile, Pence and Trump are working together, complementary in that Trump is aggressive and Pence very composed, but Pence does not condone his partner’s actions completely, which means that they could face trouble in the future.

And boy, has trouble arrived for the two Republicans. After the release of a vulgar video on October 7th, many of Trump’s Republican supporters backed out from behind him, pulling the rug from under his feet. Pence refused to speak in support of his partner, and then Trump stabbed him in the back during the second presidential debate, directly contradicting Pence’s words about American action in Syria and the Republican platform.

So where does this leave us? Hillary and Kaine seem like the superior pair, supportive and complementary, but they’re both seasoned politicians, so how much of it is an act? Pence and Trump don’t seem to be on the same page, to put it lightly, so can their relationship survive the campaign? Who could possibly replace the Obama/Biden partnership?