Winners and Losers from the Vice-Presidential Debate

WINNERS

Mike Pence: Did remarkably well, considering his upbringing as a starched shirt brought to life in an unholy laboratory experiment

Seeing your opponent as human rather than openly hating their guts: Kaine and Pence displayed clear, long-held respect for one another, demonstrating that it is possible to engage with someone with a differing political agenda without pulling a knife on them and calling them an elaborate portmanteau of five different racial and sexual slurs

Composure: This valuable human quality got to show another side during tonight’s debate, with Pence’s impressive demonstration that it’s much easier to get away with spouting blatant lies if you appear more calm and assured than your opponent

The First Presidential Debate: Despite featuring Donald Trump facing off against a woman, had far fewer instances of one party interrupting or talking over the other than did last night’s affair

Basic human decency and perception: Barely anybody saw moderator Elaine Quijano’s name, mistook her for a Mexican instead of an American citizen of Filipino descent, and hurled inaccurate racial slurs at her, though it’s kind of sad that “barely anybody” now qualifies as a triumph

Amazing, hilarious schadenfreude: Apparently Donald Trump is pissed that Mike Pence outshone him on the debate stage, which might be the most poetic, satisfying happening of the whole race thus far

“Diamond Joe” Biden: WE MISS YOU ALREADY CAN WE HAVE FOUR MORE YEARS DADDY

LOSERS

Tim Kaine: Way to cede the high ground on the “Trump constantly interrupted Hillary in the presidential debate” thing there, bud

The Republican Party: A composed, eloquent, traditionally conservative candidate presented himself onstage last night as a prime contender for the 2020 or 2024 nomination, which would be great, except they surely already realize that the deep and unaddressed rot pervading the party and its base will probably result in another dangerous, self-absorbed blowhard getting nominated instead

The institution of the Vice Presidential debate itself: Fucking Dan Quayle got elected in a landslide even after being completely destroyed in one of these, so why are we expecting a fairly evenly matched debate like last night’s to make a difference?

Clumsy but nonetheless carefully crafted zingers that are rehearsed for hours so that the candidates can shoehorn them into answers on totally irrelevant topics: After a “yuge”-ly awkward, some would say “Trumped-up”, showing in both debates this year, I’m ready to say “I’m with her”, “her” in this case being everyone who thinks this old campaign staple is “over the Hill”—get it? ‘cause “Hill” is short for “Hillary”—and that it’s time to tell it that “you’re fired”

Setting the record straight on implicit bias in policing: Something tells me that Cory Booker would have utterly eviscerated Mike Pence on the issue of implicit bias and police reform, but it appears we can’t have nice things

Ted Cruz: Pence’s smooth, evasive performance seemed aimed at a future presidential run, in particular cornering the “weirdly rigidly pedantic religious conservative” demographic that Cruz had been looking to secure

Mike Pence: Out-Ted-Cruz’d Ted Cruz at something, which is never good, so forget that earlier bit about him being a winner

The truth: But frankly, this has been dead for years

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