The Peaceful Transition Debate
Updated: Oct 10
Not even the plexiglass shields could protect Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence from sparring during Wednesday night’s debate. The night was filled with mostly unanswered questions and the appearance of a now-famous fly that perched itself on the Vice President’s head for over two minutes.
During such a divisive election many debate topics are controversial, which led to unsurprising lies when Pence argued the Trump administration’s position. In true political style, both candidates evaded a fair share of the questions posed. A prime example of this was when the Vice President was asked about a peaceful transition of power if Trump was to lose the election.
Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today, posed the question regarding a peaceful transition of power to Pence, mentioning the President’s previous statements that he would not accept the outcome of the election if it was not in his favor. The following is Pence's response in full. A reminder before you read, the question is whether Pence would respect the outcome of the election.
Susan Page: “What would be your role and responsibility as Vice President, what would you personally do?"
Mike Pence:“Well, Susan, first and foremost, I think we're going to win this election.
Because while Joe Biden and Kamala Harris rattle off a long litany of the establishment in Washington, DC, that Joe Biden has been a part of for 47 years, President Donald Trump has launched a movement of everyday Americans from every walk of life. And I have every confidence that the same Americans that delivered the historic victory in 2016, they see this President's record: We have rebuilt the military, revived the economy, with tax cuts, fair trade and American energy. We've appointed conservatives to courts at every level, and we've stood with the men and women of law enforcement every single day. And that movement has only grown stronger in the last four years.
But when you talk about accepting the outcome of the election, I must tell you, Senator, your party has spent the last three and a half years trying to overturn the results of the last election. It's amazing. When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, the FBI actually spied on President Trump and my campaign.
There were documents released this week that the CIA made a referral to the FBI documenting that those allegations were coming from the Hillary Clinton campaign. And we've all seen the avalanche, what you put the country through for the better part of three years until it was found there was no obstruction, no collusion, case closed. And then, Senator Harris, you and your colleagues in the Congress tried to impeach the President of the United States over a phone call.
And now Hillary Clinton has said to Joe Biden, in her words, under no circumstances should he concede the election. I think we're going to win this election. President Trump and I are fighting every day to prevent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris from changing the rules and creating this universal mail-in voting that will create a massive opportunity for voter fraud. And we have a free and fair election, we know we're going to have confidence in it. And I know and believe that President Donald Trump will be reelected for four more years.”
Some important aspects to note are the several lies sprinkled within this answer. From a claim of the FBI spying on the Trump campaign to the threat of voter fraud because of mail-in voting. An answer like this is highly concerning as it is an example of what might be in store for November. And, Pence failed to reassure Americans he would uphold what can be the most sacred element of democracy: the peaceful transfer of power.
The mere fact that a question about the acceptance of election results was even asked during a presidential debate should make us think. When posed what steps Biden and Harris would take if Trump refuses to accept a peaceful transfer of power, Harris responded by stating “We [Harris and Biden] believe in democracy and here’s what I’d like to say: Vote”.
So, with a little over 20 days left to vote, please make a voting plan. Vote early (if possible). And, help your friends and family to get to the polls.
Photo credit: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/coronavirus-mike-pence-donald-trump-jr-democrats-millions-die