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Do Vice Presidential Debates Still Matter?

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    First off - I am a firm proponent of Presidential debates. Even with a divided and seemingly intractable electorate, Presidential Debates provide both major party candidates an equal, apolitical stage to try to convince the American people that they deserve to be elected President. That's a good thing, especially during politically tumultuous times.

    Vice Presidential debates, on the other hand, don't really make sense to me. At least not anymore. How many people out there have changed their mind on who they will vote for after watching a Vice Presidential debate? I'm sure you can count the number of people who have done so in any recent election on one hand.

    Another reason I'm not a big fan of having a Vice Presidential debate is because the Vice President, Constitutionally, has no power outside of casting tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Their sole job is to be the President's cheerleader to toe the line. It's not like they will use the debate to offer critiques of their boss (or potential boss) or anything.

    This then begs the question of why we continue to have Vice Presidential debates. I'd be much more in favor of adding a fourth Presidential debate than continuing to have a Vice Presidential debate.

    I'm interested if anyone else agrees with me or if I'm overlooking something here. Do you think we should keep having a Vice Presidential debate or should we do away with it and potentially add a fourth Presidential debate?

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?

    I'm taking the exact opposite view here, respectfully. Sure.. if nothing happens to the President then the VP is of little consequence. But let's be frank - both of these candidates, Biden and Trump, are in their 70's, 77 and 74 respectively. So they are one health issue away from their VP assuming office.

    We also live in very divided times, and darkly speaking, assassination attempts aren't exactly missing from the US historical record.

    And finally, the VP does do a few more things. They reflect the kind of cabinet a would-be president wants to create, the kind of political team and company they are willing to associate with and foster. If they pick a VP that holds extreme views, that makes me want to vote for the main candidate less. But if they pick someone that can help possibly reign in a candidate's more extreme views, it can show they are willing to surround themselves with more 'centrist' ideas.

    I think having a VP debate is definitely worthwhile, but you only need one. So I think the current format makes a lot of sense. I would not be for a second or third VP debate, as that would be too much. But one gives you an idea of what kind of person the presidential candidate sees as a worthy partner. And VPs can really find themselves influential on some policy issues throughout a 4-year term as well. They have the ear of the president and a seat at the table. Should know how that person thinks and where they stand on XYZ topics of the day.

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?

    Those are some very valid points. To be honest, both the current candidates age has hardly crossed my mind, but it certainly should have. It certainly is at least theoretically possible that whoever wins the Presidency is unable to complete their term.