Less chaotic than Trump against Biden, but just as controversial: In the TV duel between the vice-candidates, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence got hold of the big questions and avoided the big questions.

Now it was the turn of the Vizes: Democratic Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence have delivered their first and only TV duel. Because Joe Biden is 77 years old, Donald Trump is 74 and there are doubts about their health, the debate was seen in advance as a preview of the possible next American president. But both put themselves at the service of their bosses.

Key insights from the 90-minute game in Salt Lake City:

It’s also less brutal: This duel was not a wild brawl like the Trump-influenced duel of the presidential candidates last week. It was even about content. But it wasn’t a real debate either: the two kept interrupting each other, accusing each other of lies, exceeding their speaking time – and not answering many of the big questions. Moderator Susan Page called for a “civic and respectful debate,” but had serious problems enforcing the rules.

The corona factor: The appearance of the game was also determined by the Corona outbreak in the White House. The candidates were now ten feet apart instead of eight, they were not standing, they were sitting at tables. In addition, – after the initial resistance of the pence bearing – Plexiglass panes were built in between. A more symbolic gesture. After all: in the scarce audience, the mask requirement was observed – unlike the Entourage that Donald Trumps had done a week ago.

What it was about: On the Trump administration’s corona balance, Joe Biden’s tax plans, health insurance and climate change, police reform, and even foreign policy, Kamala Harris promised a Biden administration would remember who are friends and who are opponents. I’d love to hear it in Europe.

This is how Kamala Harris did: It was her most important appearance in this election campaign – and she was visibly nervous. The ex prosecutor had her strongest moment as a prosecutor in the Corona crisis. “The American people have witnessed the greatest failure of any government in the history of our country,” she began her very first response, then said, “This government has forfeited the right to reelection.” It didn’t get any stronger. She fended off Pence’s constant interruptions: “Mr. Vice President, now I have it!” It was her rehearsed answers that worked best. It was a neat, not extraordinary performance that served its purpose.

This is how Mike Pence acted: He gave the nice Trump. In terms of content, Pence was indistinguishable from the president. He described Harris as the radical left and Biden as the “cheerleader of communist China”. Like his boss, he worked with countless untruths. Pence tried with a rhetorical trick to get rid of the most critical subject for him. Instead of talking about what his government was doing (wrong) in the corona pandemic, he was talking about the civilians. Pence insisted time and again that the American people deserved respect for the victims of the pandemic. The message: Any criticism of corona history is prohibited. He avoided other questions, such as those about a peaceful transfer or lack of transparency about Trump’s corona disease.

Are you interested in the US election? Washington correspondent Fabian Reinbold writes a newsletter about the election campaign, his work in the White House and his impressions from the US under Donald Trump. Here you can subscribe to the “Post from Washington” for free, which then ends up in your mailbox once a week.

The Secret Star: A fly stole the show from Pence and Harris – and distracted the sometimes tricky debate. It landed on the vice president’s hair and lay there for minutes. Pence didn’t seem to notice her, it quickly achieved cult status with viewers.

Conclusion: The Democrat and the Republican survived their duel without major accidents (aside from the fly). This evening was of little help to undecided voters. He must not change the dynamics of the race. That’s good for Biden and Harris, who are clearly up front in the polls, and bad for Trump.

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