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Students react to vice presidential debate

| Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A little more than one week after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sparred in the first presidential debate of the 2016 election, their respective running mates, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, faced off in their only debate of the election cycle at Longwood University in Virginia Tuesday night.

ND Votes hosted a watch party for the debate in the LaFortune Ballroom for students to discuss the issues the candidates addressed. Over the course of the night, Kaine and Pence were tasked with issues relating to the trustworthiness of their respective running mates, national security, economic development and matters of faith.

Junior Shane Jenkins said that the two candidates differed in their demeanor when answering questions.

“Tim Kaine … had certain parts prepared [with] full arguments and stories that he prepared before,” Jenkins said. “He liked to interrupt and was very excited. Pence seemed to be more reserved and seemed to be doing a better job than Trump in the previous debate.”

Junior Louie Filipiak noted that the candidates seemed to have a difficult time addressing each other’s points of view because they have fundamentally different views of America.

“Several times Kaine would interrupt because Pence was forming his own reality based on conservatism, while at the same time, when Kaine would speak, Pence would just shake his head,” Filipiak said, “They’re forming their own views of what America is like and almost seemed to think that the other’s was not a true reality.”

Both Filipiak and Jenkins believed that this distinction was evident in how the two candidates used certain terms.

“One example is ‘business,’ [with a] positive connotation for Pence and a negative connotation for Kaine,” Filipiak said. 

Filipiak said that this debate appeared to be different in tone from Clinton and Trump’s debate.

“I think that this debate was a lot more respectful because it was an exchange of ideas,” Filipiak said.

It seemed hard at times for Pence to distance himself from Donald Trump and his views, Filipiak said.

“The problem for Pence is that he is stuck with this looming Trump shadow over his shoulder,” he said. “Every time he tries to explain some conservative ideal, it’s almost with the caveat that we want to do this, but we also have Donald Trump to do this.”

Filipiak said that this ‘shadow’ of Trump allowed Kaine to go on the attack throughout the course of the debate.

“Kaine had all these things in his arsenal ahead of time on how [Trump’s views represent] extremism, not even conservative extremism but just extremism,” FIlipiak said.

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About Lucas Masin-Moyer

Lucas Masin-Moyer is a senior at Notre Dame majoring in Political Science and American Studies. He serves as Assistant Managing Editor, lived in Morrissey Manor and hails from Telford, Pennsylvania.

Contact Lucas