COMMENTARY: Remember the vice presidential debate?

Taylor Huff

It may come as a shock, or just mild surprise, to most people that the vice presidential debate took place this past Tuesday at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Tim Kaine, Virginia senator and Hillary Clinton’s running mate, clashed with Mike Pence, Indiana governor and Donald Trump’s running mate.

The lack of intrigue from the public was reflected in the minuscule viewership the debate yielded.

According to Nielsen ratings, only 37.2 million people tuned in to the Vice Presidential debate compared to around 84 million people who watched Clinton and Trump go at it Sept. 26.

Despite having relatively no audience in comparison to previous VP debates, what these men say matter, and here’s why.

As vice president, you’re basically the nation’s backup plan if anything were to happen to the commander-in-chief. The ideas and values of these men will be reflected in America’s domestic and foreign policy, should either of them ever have to take control of the Oval Office.

Even if Pence or Kaine never have to step up to the presidential plate, they will have at least some influence over creating legislation. As the foremost authority over the Senate, the vice president has the responsibility of casting a vote in the event of a tie.

Given our country’s crippling political gridlock highlighted by the government shutdown of 2013, the idea of a tie in the Senate may not be bizarre. However, vice president Joe Biden has never had to do this.

The vice president is also part of the president’s inner circle, assisting them in making decisions that could affect the entire nation. Given the immediate issues the next president will have to tackle, such as filling a Supreme Court seat.

The vice president also spends a lot of time with the president and is, therefore, subjected to being featured in most political memes. So if you think this election doesn’t affect you, it does affect who you’ll be laughing at for the next four years while scrolling through your Twitter feed.

But who can really top Joe Biden memes?

Now lets recap what happened in Virginia this past week. Several sources, including CNN, crowned Pence the winner of the debate due to his calm demeanor in the face of Kaine’s attacks on Trump.

In all fairness to Kaine, he had plenty of ammunition citing Trump’s recent tax evasion scandal, his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his degrading comments toward Mexicans, women and just about anyone else with a pulse.

It seems though Kaine was a little too strong for America’s taste, coming off as a little too rehearsed for the debate. Kaine is like your best friend’s dad who always has the worst jokes that you feel like you have to laugh at because the only alternative is lengthy, awkward silence.

Pence, on the other hand, was about as cool and collected as a white man getting pulled over for a speeding ticket. Despite maintaining his composure, much of his air time was spent defending the actions of his running mate without going into much detail about his policies.

One could argue Trump himself isn’t exactly clear on what he’ll do if elected, but he retains the promise that he will continue to surround himself with the best people. And that was more crystallized with his pick of Pence.