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Just Like Teens, Vice Presidents DO Matter!

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Last Tuesday’s vice presidential debate was more of a quarrel than a debate. The two vice presidential candidates battled it out with a variety of broad claims and interruptions. Unfortunately, this was the only vice presidential debate of the election season, the only chance for people to see the views of vice presidential candidates instead of solely their counterparts.

In case you didn’t watch Tuesday’s debate, here’s a short summary. We saw Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate and the 50th governor of Indiana, make clear his political views on immigration and foreign policy. Pence stated that he strongly supports increased border security (definitely in line with Trump’s Mexican wall) and stated that he thinks immigrants and refugees are quite simply dangerous. As for foreign policy, Pence wanted viewers to know that the U.S. should be ready to use military power against Russia. And, contrary to Trump’s strong praises of Russian Vladimir Putin, Pence denied these and called Putin a leader who is “small and bullying.” However, Pence was able to keep a calm temperament throughout Tim Kaine’s many interruptions.

On the other end was Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate and a senator from Virginia. Kaine made many arguments about Trump’s inexperience and tried to put out as many of Trump’s controversial remarks as possible. Pence responded by calling Trump a businessman, although failing to explain how having experience as a manager would help Trump in the Oval Office. The debate covered a lot about about the candidates, but it failed to discuss some of the vice presidential candidate’s views. For example, some of Pence’s key platforms, like his strong stances against women’s rights and marriage equality, weren’t even mentioned.

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The debate may not have told us everything about the vice presidential candidates, but it was still important. Vice presidents are important, and voters shouldn’t overlook that. Today we find ourselves entangled in an election that is extremely focused on the two major party candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. While getting lost in every opinion piece and Twitter war, we sometimes even forget the vice presidential candidates exist, let alone remembering their names and political views. Well, vice presidents do make a difference, and in this election, more than ever.

We would likely see how much Pence could influence politics if Trump is elected, and it’s important that we then compare Pence and Kaine. On one side, we have Donald Trump, who has firmly established himself to be a businessman full of surprises. Clearly, if Trump gets in office, he’ll likely be taking a lot of guidance from Pence. Pence has had actual experience in politics — he knows the scene much better than Trump. And, if Trump is forced to resign, impeached, or he chooses to resign, Pence gets the presidency. And with Pence’s extremely conservative views, that could make a lot of voters unhappy. Trump simply doesn’t understand the presidency, so he’ll inevitably have to rely on Pence.

It’s safe to say that Clinton has considerably more knowledge about the presidency than Trump. For starters, she is the former secretary of state and well-liked by her party. Clinton probably won’t be relying on Kaine as much as Trump would with Pence, but the vice president still has powers. A vice president can cast a deciding vote in the Senate and still helps the president with decisions.

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So, you’re a teen. You might be thinking why you should care about the election, let alone vice presidents! Well, teens might not be able to vote, but they can still have an influence and spread their ideas and opinions. As a teen, you probably care who’s going to be in office — they’ll be affecting your future in one way or another. One way to have an influence is to show your support for a campaign by attending rallies. This can help you learn about a candidate’s ideas, perspectives, and goals if elected. You can also spread your support by using social media. As a teen, you probably have at least one social media account, so put it to good use! Post about your favorite campaign, the candidate’s views and why you like this campaign.

So, vice presidents do matter, and even if you can’t vote, so do you! Don’t get caught up in the crossfire between the two presidential candidates, and keep in mind that there’s another person going into office with them! In a way, vice presidents are like teens: often overlooked, but still very important.

Richa, 15, is a sophomore at Northview High School who may not be able to vote, but she loves keeping up with politics and the election!
Speak up about the 2016 presidential election process. The second presidential debate will be Sunday, Oct. 9.
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