Decision 2020

Connecticut Political, Historical Experts Explain Importance of VP Debate

Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris (right).

Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate is expected to be one for the history books.

Local experts said it's especially significant if you factor in the age of their running mates and the coronavirus crisis.

“Donald Trump is going to be 74 in his second term and Joe Biden would start at age 78, so both would be the oldest two men ever to enter the presidency,” said ECSU history professor Thomas Balcerski.

Couple that with the president’s recent coronavirus diagnosis, a lots at stake for Vice President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris, two people who would be next in line to lead out country if their running mate wins.

“There’s no question at all that in the context of the modern American presidency, vice presidents have taken on an increased role. I think that’s particularly true when the president as Donald Trump is stricken with a virus,” said professor Gary Rose, chair of Sacred Heart University’s Department of Government.

And coming up off of last week’s presidential debate, Rose said viewers could also see Wednesday’s match-up as a sneak peek into who could be tapped as a future presidential nominee and possibly some insight into a White House if Biden wins.

“I do believe that Kamala Harris and those that are associated with her on the progressive side of the aisle will be driving the direction of the Biden presidency.”

Harris will make history as the first Black woman to appear in a presidential debate.

The last two most watched VP debates, “Both had women debaters and it’s been a story of sidelined story how significant the presence of Kamala Harris will be on that stage tonight,” said Balcerski.

With that and everything else going on in our country, Balcerski believes, “I think this will be the most watched vice presidential debate in American history.”

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