Three ways Pence can win the debate
In tonight's debate, Vice President Mike Pence has a golden opportunity. With the COVID-19 pandemic refusing to go away, President Trump's right-hand man can prove that a Republican administration is the right one for the job at hand.
This is especially true in light of the first presidential debate, which split American voters along party lines. Democrats predictably praised Joe Biden's performance, while Republicans saw President Trump as the clear victor. Independents were left uninspired by a debate marred by mumbling; interrupting; and poor, often biased moderating.
This brings us back to Mike Pence. With Biden polling favorably in recent weeks, President Trump will look for his running mate to steady the ship and bring more of the required fight. Here's how to do it:
Tout the Trump-Pence administration's many accomplishments
As President Trump often asks, what has Joe Biden actually accomplished during his five decades in Washington, D.C.? For that matter, what has Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) done after fizzling out in the 2020 Democratic primaries?
Compared to the Trump-Pence administration, they haven't done much at all — and Pence needs to say so. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump economy was the strongest in American history. The stock market was breaking records, while black and Hispanic unemployment rates hit an all-time low. Even now, the U.S. economy is "booming" again (CNN's words, not mine), which shows that the Trump-Pence administration is effectively guiding us out of the COVID-induced recession. All of this while COVID-19 cases and deaths are dropping with each passing week.
For Vice President Pence, don't just say what you plan to do in the next four years. Show what you've already done for the American people.
Speak to American voters, especially in battleground states
Speaking of the American people, Pence needs to show that they are his first, second, and third priorities. From video calls to campaign rallies, the vice president has made it a mission to be visible to Americans in key battleground states and everywhere else. He needs to tailor his talking points to those people listening at home, without focusing too excessively on Senator Harris beside him.
Let's remember: the vice presidencies of Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, and Al Gore were thoroughly establishment in nature. In recent decades, vice presidents have sought to steal the spotlight from the man in charge, forgetting that they were actually second in command. The vice presidency became part of the "Washington swamp." Not so with Vice President Pence, who has always respected President Trump's ability to lead and done his part to enact the "America First" agenda. This shows unprecedented humility on Pence's part, which must be conveyed to American voters.
Stick to facts, not feelings
The vice presidential debate will come down to tone, especially after the raucousness of last week's showdown. In highlighting the Trump-Pence administration's record and speaking to American voters, Vice President Pence needs to continue using his "presidential" tone and not stoop to the lows of the radical left — embodied by Senator Harris, the most left-wing vice-presidential candidate in American history.
Make the record clear. Cite actual statistics. Stick to the facts. Pence should overwhelm Harris with cold, hard truths. When she invokes "systemic racism," the vice president must restate the Trump-Pence administration's position on law and order and explain how the administration has kept Americans safe in Democrat-run cities during a time of rioting and looting. Pence should also expose Harris's own hypocrisy, given that she spent nearly three decades as a tough-on-crime prosecutor who sent countless black men to prison.
When Harris personally insults the president, Pence needs to list examples of actions that the Trump-Pence administration has taken to help Americans across socioeconomic lines. He will win the debate if he continues to be the mature, experienced leader in the room. And by sticking to the facts, the vice president will allow Harris to expose herself as the left-wing radical whom Biden foolishly chose.
With a decisive victory on Wednesday evening, Vice President Pence will secure President Trump and himself a well deserved second term.
Chad Banghart serves as executive director of the pro-Trump Committee to Defend the President.
Image: Gage Skidmore.