So, despite everything, Wednesday’s vice presidential debate will still take place as planned, albeit with one minor change: On Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates approved plans for plexiglas to be placed between Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.
According to Politico, the addition to the debate stage is the result of negotiations between the Harris and Pence teams, which have been going back and forth on the terms of Wednesday night’s spar in light of the growing cluster of covid-positive White House officials—and, I assume, in light of the fact that the Trump campaign flagrantly disregarded the safety protocols surrounding the last 2020 debate.
Politico reports that the teams had already agreed on moving the candidates’ seats 13 feet apart following Trump’s diagnosis, but that they were divided over the plexiglas barrier, with Harris’s team in favor of it and Pence’s team opposed.
In the end the debate commission decided the plexiglas will indeed separate the two VP candidates, and I imagine this is secretly pleasing to at least one person in the Pence camp: Karen Pence, who has an agreement with her husband that he not dine alone with women, or attend an event where alcohol is served without her present. Sure, Wednesday’s debate technically falls into neither category, but a little extra distance can’t hurt when your views on gender are this extreme.
In any case, one wonders why we’re doing any of this at all. The actual value of presidential (and vice presidential) debates comes into question more and more with each passing election cycle, and whatever value was left has since been obliterated by the absolute chaos of the last few days.
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There are no winners here. Except for maybe Karen Pence.