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Opinion Vice-presidential debate should have covered more major issues

Vice-presidential debate should have covered more major issues

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Senator Kamala Harris of California and Vice President Mike Pence participated in a less raucous debate on Oct. 7 to bring their campaign plans to the foreground. 

The highly anticipated debate saw 57.9 million people tune in, an unusually high number for a Vice Presidential debate. Despite these ratings, however, the debate was anything but interesting. 

It would have been worth watching if different issues were covered instead of reiterating the agendas discussed in the first presidential debate. For example, the moderator could have asked Harris and Pence about their opinions on working across the aisle to pass the second COVID-19 stimulus bill. 

It has been eight solid months since the first stimulus checks were distributed. With unemployment rates through the roof and unemployment benefits sinking low, the hardworking American people are tired of the acrimony between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Pence could have been questioned about why the Trump administration is more concerned about the controversial appointment and confirmation of potential Chief Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the election, but is indifferent about passing another stimulus bill. 

The debate should have included education among the issues that are of utmost importance in a post-pandemic world. Since COVID-19 has taken over the nation, schools and colleges have been hit the hardest. The enrollment rates, especially among the minority population, has plummeted. If this continues, middle-class American families who earn a decent income will decrease, and so will the national living standards. 

Since the debate’s focal point was COVID-19, the psychological cost of COVID and the excessive drug use as a result could have also been included in the discussion. Ignoring these issues could become costly for the next administration and increase its budget on health expenditures. 

This debate was the second in the history of VP debates to feature a woman candidate. Harris also belongs to a minority group and is the daughter of two immigrants. Taking advantage of such a rare occurrence, the debate could have included issues such as sexism, racism and the lack of diversity in the American workplace. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 52% of U.S. adults expressed their concerns that race and ethnic equality was important to them while considering whom they would vote for in the November elections. These issues were also ignored in the presidential debate, but their absence was more egregious here. 

Additionally, the issue of immigration has been ignored in all of the debate so far. Trump has silently campaigned to reduce the inflow of legal immigrants by raising the concern of “importing” COVID. The hope for legal immigrants to have a stable working condition in the U.S. seems bleak if Trump gets reelected. Thus, this issue must have been included in the Wednesday night debate. 

Finally, the gun policy was also a top issue that 55% of the surveyed adults believed would impact whom they would vote for that was not addressed. Not focusing on fixing policies that take many innocent American lives each year was a major disappointment, especially since Harris and Pence stand in stark opposition to each other. 

All in all, the vice presidential debate was no different than the presidential debate. Both were filled with lies, empty compassion and erroneous reasonings. Voters normally do not base their votes according to the winner of the vice presidential debate, though.

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