Vice Presidential Debate: Some Sanity to the Trump Campaign? Mike’s Message to America

From the Editor:  As part of his multi-instalment series covering the intricacies of the upcoming presidential election in the United States, SAS catalyst candidate and guest contributor to The Eye, Allen Wang, will be maintaining this featured column: POTUS POLITICS 2016.  As with all articles in The Eye, we welcome your feedback, opposing viewpoints, or commentary in the “Reply” section at the end of this piece. 

Even though it’s been two weeks since the debate, the themes brought up remain important to the election and the national conversation on politics that we have to understand.

pence-kaine-vp-wtkr-com
Left: Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) – Right: Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D) (from wtkr.com)

You can’t unify a country by setting the tone of your campaign calling Mexicans rapists or criminals. You can’t have a society where people respect the law when someone at the top is so demeaning towards the citizens who feel like victims in this country.

Donald Trump, no doubt, has caused major uproar with his vitriolic rhetoric. And this has been perfect leverage for Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, to slam prospective Republican Vice President, and Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, over and over and over again. Pence just couldn’t justify the what the guy’s said; his most intriguing defense was that “Trump isn’t a career politician like you and Hillary” (or himself, for that matter).

Kaine took the cake in the debate, but only because he isn’t running with Trump.

vp-debate-pic-trump-thewrap-com-getty-images
Disregarding PC has been an invitation for criticism (from thewrap.com)

Trying to justify the tone, impact, and nuances behind his most eye-catching remarks is excruciatingly difficult, if not impossible. Pence doesn’t run with Trump because of that; he’s no fan of an “insult-driven campaign,” as he characterizes Clinton’s bid, and flippantly rejected that Trump “said the things you say he said in the way you say he said them.”

Let’s look at Kaine again – he believes Clinton can unify America through her run-of-the-mill politics, and doing what she’s always done by “reaching across the aisle,” leading through listening to others. She promises not revolution or systemic upheaval, but an unsatisfactory status quo. This won’t work. Clinton herself acknowledges that her moderate, from-the-establishment campaign hasn’t done enough to win the hearts of Sanders voters or millennials who want to see a de-corporatized America.

Then we have Pence, who rightfully argues that the country can be unified through change in DC. Everyone and their dog don’t exactly approve of Congress and the establishment. What Trump does in his campaign, is call for the hope of proper political leadership, upheaval of a stagnant, corporate government, and securing of America’s place on the world stage. Even if you don’t believe in foreign intervention or keeping American troops in other nations, it’s undeniable that the issue of terrorism has evolved into something more brutal and effective, that Russia’s authoritarian regime doesn’t have coinciding interests with American foreign policy, and that democracy on a global scale has taken a backslide. In other words, Americans haven’t been feeling safer about the international community’s biggest problems in the last few years.

Meanwhile, Kaine attempted to attack the Republican ticket’s foreign policy by “quoting” their remarks on how Putin is a “better leader than Obama.” Although there are accusations of shady ties the Trump campaign has to Russia, these attacks completely ignore Pence’s arguments and gloss over any attempts Kaine can make to defend Clinton. Putin has been a stronger leader than Obama, calling for an international coalition at the General Assembly to crush ISIL, is propping a regime that is anathema to US interests, has aggressively intervened in Syria while the USA has been perceived to be scaling back.

But still, we can’t make America great again with bad words. If that is the best bet we have in fixing our broken vetocracy, then be prepared for a frustrating presidency if Trump triumphs.

———

The following are a few fact checkers on the debate that provide incredibly solid context on the issues discussed:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/04/us/elections/fact-check-vp-debate.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/04/politics/fact-check-vice-presidential-debate/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/factchecking-the-vp-debate/

I strongly recommend the CNN link, especially on foreign policy.

Author: Allen Wang

Allen is a guest contributing writer for the SAS EYE, the Substitute Editor in Chief for Students and Politics, and is writing a series of articles for his Catalyst project on politics. He has helped restart the Students for Political Activism club, is overseeing the transition of leadership, is an avid MUNner, and will attend George Washington University in the fall. For all inquires, please email him at wang43537@sas.edu.sg

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