This Mike Pence Head-Shaking GIF Shows His Weak Debate Strategy
The Oct. 4 vice presidential debate blessed the world with some incredible moments and and truly incredible GIFs, including this one of Mike Pence's infinite head shaking, which was widely shared as a symbol for the debate itself. But more than that, this head-shaking GIF of Pence showed his weak debate strategy, one in which he tried to avoid answering Tim Kaine's questions by simply shaking his head in disagreement.
It's obviously not surprising that the two candidates didn't agree on much during the course of the debate, but Pence relied on the head shaking as a comeback instead of real responses a number of times. For the most part, Pence's head shaking seemed to be directed at actual, indisputable facts, especially things that his running mate Donald Trump has said on the record. Pence didn't have answers to a lot of these quotes that Kaine mentioned, which would have been difficult due to their utter indefensibility. Pence's now infamous head shaking also came up when Kaine mentioned the disproportionate sentencing for ethnic minorities within the criminal justice system, a widely reported fact that Pence tried to dispute. While Kaine came armed with specific examples and facts supporting his vision for his vice president, Pence just didn't show up with the same preparedness.
At least online, Pence's strategy seems to have backfired. "Is Mike Pence repeatedly shaking his head bc he can't believe he is tied to @realDonaldTrump?" tweeted one Twitter user, a sentiment that was echoed repeatedly throughout most of the night. "I don't think I've ever seen someone shake their head & scoff more than Mike Pence did at the #VPDebate tonight," tweeted another commentator. Many people recognized that Pence used the head shaking as a strategy to avoid defending many of Trump's hateful comments that were mentioned throughout the night and recognized Kaine as the clear winner due to Pence's overall lack of rebuttal. Ultimately, it seems that Kaine was perceived as the winner, and Pence will be remembered as a bobblehead.
Even though they're often viewed as largely pointless affairs, the debates are really important and highly relevant to the candidates' potential time in office. As VP, Pence would frequently have to be questioned in front of cameras and a live audience, so it's important to see how he would respond in exactly such a scenario. In this case, his only chance to make a thorough impression on the American public, Pence seems to have missed the mark. Hopefully he can shake it off.