Mike Pence did a masterful job of setting himself up for 2020. But did he help Donald Trump?
In terms of style, Republican Mike Pence was the clear winner of the Vice Presidential debate. He performed smoothly, spoke in a relaxed manner with confidence, and appeared likable. This was in stark contrast to Democrat Tim Kaine, who acted overly intense and interrupted far too often.
Yet there is no doubt today that Tim Kaine achieved his strategic objective: discrediting Donald Trump. He was highly successful at this, as Pence would simply deny Kaine’s allegations regarding Trump without offering any substantive defense.
The result: Pence’s stylistic triumph has propelled him into the lead for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination. By contrast, Kaine’s relentless, unrebutted attack on Trump will doubtless accelerate the free fall The Donald is experiencing in the various state polls.
All this is reflected in a CNN/ORC post debate poll. Pence won the debate by a narrow margin of 48% to 42%. Yet most debate watchers said Kaine did the better job defending Hillary Clinton, 58%, while just 35% thought Pence better defended Donald Trump.
The bottom line: The debate enhanced both the likelihood of Tim Kaine becoming the Vice-President of the United States on January 20, 1917 and Mike Pence becoming the Republican Presidential nominee at the 2020 GOP convention.
Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate drew a smaller audience than the VP debates in 2012 and 2008, according to overnight Nielsen ratings.
Early ratings show that viewership figures will be available later in the day on Wednesday. Total viewership is likely to be somewhere in the 40 and 50 million viewer range.
We already know, though, that the Mike Pence-Tim Kaine debate was seen in roughly half the number of homes that tuned into the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate on September 26
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.