Star analyst Political Joe previews the first and only US vice presidential debate of the campaign, held today in Salt Lake City, Utah. Latest news around Donald Trump's illness and his speedy recovery have made this event more significant than ever for voters and bettors. Don't forget to subscribe so you can stay updated to the latest experts insights every week.
Traditionally Vice-Presidential debates have tended to be non-events. Two members of the supporting cast attempting to avoid saying or doing anything which might make them a household name for all the wrong reasons. This year however could be very different.
Tonight’s debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris is quickly being escalated to a top billing. Some commentators are even suggesting it might be the most important Vice-Presidential debate in history. This is very much triggered by circumstance. Donald Trump’s recent health issues, coupled with the fact we have two of the of the oldest primary candidates on record, brings the whole question of succession sharply into focus.
Who Are The Two Candidates?
Mike Pence has been an able deputy to Donald Trump for the last four years. In itself no mean feat given the number of high-profile staff members who have departed the Trump administration for one reason or another. He is 61, deeply religious and has surprisingly only grabbed an occasional headline when it comes to his views on Women’s Rights, Family Values and LGBT to name but a few.
Kamala Harris is 55, originally from California and was elected to the senate in 2016. A former Attorney General of California we have seen in both her Congress & Democratic Nominee debate appearances that she will very much hold her own on this stage. Her strongest views, which ultimately feed into her primary policies, are held on topics such as historically marginalised societal groups, people of colour and low earning Americans. She will be a strong candidate to achieve the position of first female US Vice-President.
What Will They Debate?
Historically speaking Vice-Presidential debates have never been anything special. Candidates usually discuss how they would best support their primary candidate and have a limited opportunity to express their own personal views. As mentioned earlier, this is no ordinary year.
Pence is going to have to demonstrate his leadership without stepping on his bosses’ toes! After all, he is the next in line should anything happen to President Trump. Many people who have attempted to walk on those eggshells previously have subsequently found themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to White House matters. While similar questions will most definitely be put to Harris she won’t have to navigate as many minefields to deliver an answer.
Coronavirus is also without doubt going to be a hot topic in light President Trump’s diagnosis. Pence also heads up the White House task force. Harris will be prepared to push the envelope when it comes to the ‘kung flu’, but the Pence camp will no doubt be expecting that. He has been calm and measured when it comes to task force briefings to date, albeit without the background noise of the virus ripping through White House staff.
Finally expect Women’s Right & Race to be to the fore. Both candidates will find themselves on opposite sides when it comes to these topics and it will be very interesting to see how Harris might attack previously publicised Pence views, along with how he is prepared to defend them.
Will It Impact The Betting Markets?
In previous years there has never really been a ripple when it comes to Vice-Presidential debates, strong or poor performances. But as is abundantly clear on all fronts, this year no ordinary year. That said this Political Joe wouldn’t expect a whole lot of price movement, perhaps a little fluctuation during the debate as people interrupt how things are going. However, as is the case with any debate, it’s the gaffs and how they might be amplified that could have the biggest long-term impact.
Ultimately the only winner that matters is the one on November 3rd, however the battles between now and then are going to be more important to a Trump campaign. They have seen their man sliding badly in both the polls and the betting in recent weeks.