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To: readers across the Aisle

Subject: Battle of the VPs

Date: August 13th, 2020

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Battle of the VPs

Biden just announced that Kamala Harris will be his VP. With 89 days left before the November election, we break down Harris' and Pence's political careers and what it means to be VP.

In this newsletter:

  • Kamala Harris 

  • Mike Pence

  • VP role by the numbers

Let's take a walk down the Aisle...

Veep- why it matters 

A lot of people think the government is like House of Cards, a group of really smart people covertly running an evil underground operation. It's really more like Veep- mostly well intentioned people that are just kinda dumb.

In this election, VPs are especially important because they're more likely to become president due to the old age of President Trump (oldest president elected at 70) and Democratic candidate Biden (even older at 77). 


Kamala Harris as VP

Biden's VP pick, Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and South Asian woman on a presidential ticket.


Background: raised by immigrant parents, went to Howard (HBCU), and then law school.


Career: served as AG of California. Senator. In her own presidential campaign, she performed poorly at primaries.

Quote: "If you're fortunate to have opportunity, it is your duty to make sure other people have those opportunities as well."

Platform: Medicare for All, higher minimum wage, reform cash bail


  • Centrist: ​​establishment believes Harris brings centrist perspective, which will attract undecided voters & unify the country​

    • Republicans: *spits out drink* Harris is not a moderate 

  • Identity: supported Planned Parenthood for women & policies for immigrants/ POC

    • some argue that Biden campaign is using her for diversity


  • Law enforcement: prosecuted 1,500 marijuana cases contributing to mass incarceration of Black population in CA

    • Progressives: along with Biden's 1994 crime bill, this is a big blow

  • Political ambitions: called Biden out for opposing busing (bringing minority students to mostly white schools); some say it is sexism to fault her for being ambitious

Right: Harris won't appeal to either moderate conservatives or radical progressives

Left: Harris has a history advocating for working class people and minorities 

Mike Pence as VP

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Serious question: was congress ever working? As VP, Pence mostly stays out of the spotlight but that doesn't mean he hasn't done a lot for the Trump administration.


Background: Christian evangelical. Went to law school. OG Tea Party movement.

Career: Congressman of Indiana for 12 years. Governor of Indiana, although he wasn't very popular. VP.

Quote: "I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order." 

Platform: limited government, balanced budget, support military, socially conservative


  • Values: his strong commitment to religious values balances Trump's questionable ethics & his levelheadedness makes him better with the media 

  • Fundraising: fundraised over $4M for 2020 campaign through his own PAC (a first for a VP)

    • secured $8 billion in funding for the Space Force​


  • Social issues: introduced religious freedom bill in Indiana, which progressives argued protected discrimination against LGBTQ+ population

  • Policy: although Pence spent 12 years in Congress, 0/63 of his bills became law

    • As Governor, he was able to handle health issues well, but as lead of coronavirus task force he's struggling with the White House on their pandemic response​


Right: Pence balances Trump by bringing traditional religious values to the ticket

Left: Pence is extremely bigoted & won't compromise on social issues


Not just a fancy sidekick


The VP position holds more power than you think. Historically, 14 Vice Presidents have gone on to become President. 8 succeeded to the office after the death of a US president, while 5 were elected for office afterwards.


4 took this office directly after finishing their term as VP.

3 times Section III of the 25th Amendment, in which VP becomes acting president, was invoked. Once when Reagan underwent surgery, and twice when George Bush was sedated for medical procedures.

Other controversies

What: Trump flails during Axios interview

Right: this is why the campaign is falling behind 

Leftwhen the TA asks a discussion question and no one did the readings 

What: Second stimulus check negotiations

RightTrump may have to sign an executive order since Dems won't compromise

Left: Republicans are using this to get more military funding

What: potential Tik Tok ban

Right: China is increasing surveillance on Americans

Left: Trump is abusing power- this may not be legal

What: Biden says Black community not as diverse as Latino community and asks reporter if he is a junkie

Right: Biden thinks all Black voters think the same way 

Left: Biden was referring to diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries



Spread some good 

  • Donate to organizations helping Beirut, which suffered a devastating explosion last week

  • Israel considers Lebanon an enemy state but Tel Aviv lit up its city hall with Lebanese flag in solidarity

  • Help working class families struggling with food insecurity during COVID

  • Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest organization representing LGBTQ+ conservatives fighting for equality for all Americans


Quote of the week

"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. 

This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

-John Adams was the first VP of the United States. He became the second President afterwards.

Share The Aisle

Thank you for walking across the Aisle with us this week. Now that you have both sides of the story, it’s up to you to decide where you stand. 


Regardless of where you end up, we’re thankful that you read ideas that challenged your position, and we hope you’ll leave with a better understanding of the other side.

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This article cites 15 liberal news sources in blue and 13 conservative news sources in red. 6 sources were considered neutral in gray. 

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