A Primer For the Vice-Presidential Debate

With the two oldest presidential candidates in history, the vice-presidential debate taking place on Wednesday has taken on greater than usual importance. 

The Format of the Debate

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence will face off against Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s running-mate in the upcoming presidential elections, on a stage in Salt Lake City, Utah. The debate will begin at 9:00 pm eastern time (ET) on Wednesday, and run until 10:30 pm ET. Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today, will moderate. Her role has taken on greater significance after Chris Wallace, the moderator of the recent presidential debate, was perceived as being actively biased against Trump. The debate will be divided into  nine segments of ten minutes each. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the opening question in each segment. The subject matter has not been revealed but it is expected that the Coronavirus pandemic will be featured prominently. Pence served as head of the coronavirus task force.There will be an audience of fewer than 100 students from the University of Utah.

Several political pundits noted that the advantage is to Harris as she has a history of aggressive debating. If Pence, naturally solemn and polite, chooses to respond in kind, he will be portrayed by the media as sexist and racist.

Mike Pence on Israel

When Mike Pence came to Israel as Vice President in 2018, Prime Minister Netanyahu described him as “a great friend of Israel.” As VP, he has been armstrong advocate of President Trump’s pro-Israel policies including moving the embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and rejecting teh Iran nuclear deal. 

Mark Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, has known Pence since he was governor of Indiana when he invited him to visit Israel.

“He is and has always been a close friend of Israel,’ Zell stated unequivocally, “When he addressed the Knesset, he sounded more Zionistic than many Israeli politicians. And he cited the Bible several times, something most Israeli politicians avoid.”

“This is a man of deep-rooted faith and that connects him through the Bible to Israel,” Zell said. “And he is part of an administration that has created one incredible pro-Israel event after another.”

His connection with Israel is faith-based, political, and personal,”: Zell said. “Mike Pence was selected as VP because of his close ties with the evangelical community that puts Israel’s welfare at the top of the list.”

“Pence accepts the change that was made in the party platform in 2016 that eliminated the phrase, ‘the two-state solution.’” Zell explained. “The party did not want to align exclusively with that as a possible vision. They did not eliminate it but they wanted to allow for different solutions that make more sense. And as we have seen in the Abraham Accords, this new approach has worked, not just for Israel but for the entire Middle East.”

“The Democdratic party’s refusal to reevaluate the two-state solution and the Iran deal has created an existential threat for Israel, the region, and it even threatens the US,” Zell said.

“In terms of her experience and knowledge, Kamala Harris is outclassed by Mike Pence,” Zell said. But she has a history of being ruthless. We saw this in her despicable treatment of Brett Kavanaugh and even how she treated Joe Biden in the Democratic primaries. Mike Pence is an honorable and noble gentleman. I have such respect for him but I hope this doesn’t work to his disadvantage in the debate. The media has an agenda and this is not about fairness. You will certainly see this.”

What You Might Not Know About Pence

In his childhood and early adulthood, Pence was a Roman Catholic and a Democrat, as was the rest of his family.  While in college, Pence became an evangelical, born-again Christian. His political views also started shifting to the right during this time in his life, something which Pence attributes to the “common-sense conservatism of Ronald Reagan.” Pence describes himself as  “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”  Upon becoming governor in January 2013, Pence initiated the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history and pushed for more funding for education initiatives. Pence signed bills intended to restrict abortions,

Harris on Israel

On most issues, Harris holds positions that would be perceived as pro-Israel. She supports reinstalling the Iran deal that greenlights the Iranian nuclear program. She recently came out in opposition to Israel expressing sovereignty over the Biblical areas of Judea and Samaria. Harris has emphasized that the only way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ensure Israel remains a Jewish and Democratic state is by adopting the two-state solution that would create a Palestinian state inside the borders of Israel. 

Harris opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. 

When asked during her primary campaign if she would return the U.S. embassy to Tel Aviv, she evaded the question.

When Rep. Ilhan Omar was criticizecd for making anti-Semitic remarks, Harris said, “We all have a responsibility to speak out against antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry, especially as we see a spike in hate crimes in America. But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk.” 

Some Things the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You About Harris

Harris, a native Californian, worked as city attorney and district attorney of San Francisco, before elected as California’s attorney-general in 2010, and again in 2014. She  has served as the junior United States senator from California since 2017. 

Early in her career she was linked romantically with California Assembly speaker Willie Brown who was married at the time. Brown appointed her to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and later to the California Medical Assistance Commission.

In 2011, Harris urged criminal penalties for parents of truant children as she did as District Attorney of San Francisco. In 2019, an investigation by the Sacramento Bee revealed the California attorney general’s office had secretly paid $400,000 to settle harassment claims against one of Harris’ top aides. 

In 2010 a Superior Court judge in San Francisco ruled Harris’ DA office violated the constitutional rights of defendants in drug cases where a police drug lab technician, Deborah Madden, “systematically mishandled” evidence. The scandal eventually led to the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases.

While Attorney General, her office made the case that some non-violent offenders needed to stay incarcerated or else the prison system would lose a source of cheap labor.

Harris is on record as Planned Parenthood’s candidate of choice. She supports using the power of the federal government to overturn hundreds of state laws that protect the unborn. 

Harris promoted a fund that bails out rioters around the country, calling the protests and riots essential for our “evolution” as a country. After a grand jury returned a verdict that did not bring charges against any of the police officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor, Harris released a statement saying, “We must never stop speaking Breonna’s name as we work to reform our justice system, including overhauling no-knock warrants.” 

At the Democratic primary debates, Harris chided Biden for shying away from gun reform due to constitutional and legal restraints. She said that If Congress doesn’t act to tighten guns laws, she said, she would take executive action within the first 100 days as president to do so.

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