Kaine’s bad performance matters more than you think

It is now a received truth of punditry that vice presidential debates don’t matter.  The humiliation Dan Quayle experienced at the hand of Lloyd Bentsen did not hand the presidency to Michael Dukakis, after all.  But I think this year could be different. The reason is fairly simple.  For the critical swing constituency, the uncommitted, the question has become “which candidate do I dislike less?” Most undecided people will make their choice (including the choice not to vote) based on a gut feel, a sense of the person they are choosing.  And the vice president nominee can affect the gut feel for those who have no overwhelming preference.  After all, the “team” image allows for the possibility that the running mate could moderate or leaven the dislike of the top of the ticket.  I think this is particularly true for Pence, because Trump has never held political office and will obviously depend on advice from...(Read Full Post)