Vice Presidential Debate: Pence vs. Harris

UPDATE: I guess it’s all part of the debacle that is 2020: I just learned that because of a paperwork SNAFU, I won’t be able to attend the VP debates after all. I have heard other local media have encountered problems as well, but that is just hearsay.

I’m once again feeling the futile, helpless anger that has been the main emotion of this awful year. 


I’ve never attended or covered a vice-presidential debate before. Have you? Honestly, I’ve not usually even watched them on TV and when asked this weekend who Hillary Clinton’s running mate was, I didn’t remember. (It was Tim Kaine)

(I can’t imagine a more boring political event than Tim Kaine debating Mike Pence.)

Anyway, I’m attending the 2020 Vice Presidential debate tomorrow evening at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus.

And tomorrow night’s event promises to keep me awake.

I’m not expecting another cluster, like the chaotic yelling match many of us watched nearly a week ago, when President Trump and Joe Biden made a mess out of the very idea of debate. Really, no one but Trump could instigate that kind of debacle.

But the Veep contest is, more than the usual political debate, inherently interesting. Because Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris personify the split in American society, the culture canyon that is dividing us so deeply and violently.

Pence is the classic American politician—an old, white, male conservative who is determined to keep his kind in power. He doesn’t shout out his positions on women’s rights, gay marriage, racial equality, income equality or universal healthcare but they’re there, a fundamental part of him and his history. A history Harris and others are trying to change. Harris’ parents are Black and Indian, she’s a woman—that goes without saying—and she comes from a state that, despite internal conflict, has the most progressive culture in the country. Her attitude is fierce; his is staid. He is protecting his kind’s hegemony; Harris’ life has been a series of “firsts.”

It’s almost ridiculous to sum up the attitudes of these two into simple “right” and “left,” Republican and Democrat.

Just like it’s ridiculous to sum up this country’s division so simply.

I’ll be interested to see how this pair characterize their positions, their beliefs, their hopes and plans for our future.

I’ll be trying to report the whole scene as it happens and I’ll certainly post my not-necessarily-unbiased observations on Thursday.

7pm-8:30 MDT (Salt Lake City, Utah)

9pm EST to 10:30 EST (New York, New York)

6pm-7:30 PDT (LA California)

All the major news channels, including NBC, ABC, C-SPAN, CBS and Fox News will show the debate without commercial interruption. YouTube, Apple TV and Amazon Prime are among the online services expected to stream the debate.

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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