You may feel like you’re still reeling from the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but since it’s election season, you’re going to need to start getting past it. The vice presidential debate will be on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and you’re going to need to watch it.
Yes, we know that the vice presidential candidates have been massively overshadowed by their larger-than-life running mates. But that’s all the more reason to watch them face off head-to-head, right? The VP might not have anything close to the same level of power as the president. But it’s still an important advisory role – just look at the adorable bromance between President Obama and Joe Biden if you need any proof.
At the debate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine will each try to prove that he is the one best suited for the job. This is the person the president sends to do his bidding when he needs to be two places at once, the person who can provide a tie-breaker in the Senate, and, god forbid, the person who would step into the presidency if something should happen to the sitting president. If that hasn’t convinced you that this an important job, here are seven reasons why you absolutely have to watch the VP debate.
1. Let’s Face It, We Don’t Know Much About Them
So, um, Kaine is from Virginia, and Pence got in trouble for that whole “religious freedom” law in 2015. I’m willing to bet that’s the general level of knowledge on the men backing up our presidential candidates this year. They’re both well-established political figures in their own right, though, and we need to get to know them even if we already consider our voting decisions to be settled.
2. They Have Their Own Positions, Too — Learn Them
As they’re both men who have been doing this politics thing for a while, it makes perfect sense that Kaine and Pence would have their own views on the issues that we’re all basing our votes around. They may not be emphasizing the ones that differ from those of their candidate, but they might go deeper into their beliefs during the debate. Did you know, for example, that Kaine is a Catholic and a gun owner, who has nonetheless always championed things like abortion rights and gun control? Or that Pence and Trump differ sharply on immigration and gay rights?
3. There's A Chance They Could End Up As President
We hope that they’ll never get closer than one step away, but 14 vice presidents have gone on to become president — eight of those after the sitting president died.
4. There’s Only One VP Debate, So This Is Your Only Chance
We get to see the presidential nominees debate three times about all sorts of issues, but we only get 90 minutes of screen time with the VP candidates going head-to-head. They’re going to have a lot of ground to cover, and you’re not going to want to miss it.
5. Elaine Quijano Is The First Asian-American Moderator Of A General Election Debate
Elaine Quijano, a news anchor from CBSN (who also happens to be the first digital news anchor to moderate a national debate), is from Chicago with roots in the Philippines. Beyond this new step in diversity, however, Quijano has an impressive resume under her belt, and she’ll be sure to make it an interesting discussion to watch.
6. You’ll Get To See The Other Side Of The Trump Ticket
It’s no secret that Pence is more popular in Washington than Trump is; in many ways, he’s sort of the anti-Trump. He’s a real ideological conservative, with all the credentials to back it up. Before the massive criticism he received over the anti-gay legislation that he attempted to put into place in Indiana, he was on track to becoming a favorite presidential candidate one of these years himself.
7. … And The Other Side Of The Clinton Ticket
When Clinton picked her running mate, one of the more common reactions was, well, boredom. Tim Kaine is the absolute definition of a safe pick – a governor, originally from the Midwest, and sporting a past without evidence of major scandal. He does add a few things, though, like fluent Spanish and a history of getting support from generally conservative areas.
Just think, pretty soon, the election will be over and you’ll get a break from the never-ending political talk. But before that happens, you really need to dig in and listen to what these guys have to say about the future of our country.