Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Veep debate

I wonder how many people are going to bother to watch the debate tonight. Mike Pence seems pretty irrelevant to Trump. There is no indication that Pence's social conservatism or his personality has influenced Trump in any way. He has all but vanished since he was announced as the running mate. If Trump does get elected president, Pence would only be relevant if Trump dies or is impeached (actually, the latter could happen if Trump turns into the disaster I would expect him to be).

Of course, there is that story that when Trump offered the VP spot to Kasich he told Kasich that as Trump's VP, he would make all the decisions of a President. However: (1) we don't know if that story is true, (2) even if true, we don't know if Trump offered the same thing to Pence, and (3) no matter what Trump may have offered Pence, there is no reason to believe Trump would follow through on his promise, especially when it would mean not exercising the immense powers of the presidency. Pence is not all that important in this race.

Kaine might be. The Democrats have a really thin farm team for presidential candidates (compare all the people running for the GOP nomination, compared to the two, both pretty old, candidates the Democrats had) and being a relatively young Vice President would position Kaine to be the future of the party.

But even so, I have a hard time seeing how tonight's debate will decide much of his fate as possible future leader. If he destroys Pence, it will still be overshadowed by Trump's massive debate failure last week. After all, as I noted above, it is not clear if Pence matters at all in this race. If Kaine loses to Pence, well, who cares? They are just the VPs to a pair of bigger personalities. And in all likelihood, tonight's debate will be some kind of a draw. Unless someone is crushed, debates are always a draw, with each side furiously trying to spin their guy's performance into a victory.

I don't see how tonight's debate will matter and I have no inclination to tune in. Am I an outlier, or will most of the public do the same thing? I mean, without a lunatic like Trump on the stage, why bother? If there are any good bits, you will be able to watch the clips on social media and chances are there won't be any good bits.