Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris made it clear at her Wednesday night debate with Vice President Mike Pence that President Trump and Pence have neither delivered on their campaign promises nor protected America from the COVID-19 pandemic — and that Joe Biden is the leader we need now to restore and unite our country.
Harris and I started our careers in the same place — the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in our home state of California — so I know how she learned to seek justice instead of wins, which made her a tough but smart prosecutor and a relentless, potent senator.
In contrast, Pence has been a rubber stamp and talking-points machine for the most irresponsible, divisive and dangerous president in American history.
As Biden did at last week’s presidential debate, Harris talked directly to the American people in the vice-presidential debate to underscore that this election is about the millions of American families that are suffering during this once-in-a-generation pandemic and economic crisis.
“They knew what was happening and they didn’t tell you,” Harris said of Trump and Pence. “They knew and they covered it up.”
Indeed, Trump couldn’t stop the coronavirus from coming to America, couldn’t contain it from spreading like wildfire, and couldn’t pick us up from our knees economically when it knocked us down.
Harris explained Biden’s coherent, comprehensive plan for lifting our nation from the foot of the cliff that Trump threw us off.
The efforts by Trump and Pence to use China as a weak excuse for their failure to contain COVID-19 simply won’t do. Harris brooked no nonsense in describing how Trump is to blame, and how his ill-conceived trade war with China has cost American workers and farmers dearly.
“This is where we are today, because of a failure of leadership,” Harris said.
Harris talked about expanding and strengthening the health care law that Biden and President Barack Obama enacted to extend coverage to more Americans by giving Americans more choice, reducing costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate. And Harris described her and Biden’s records of fighting for women’s right to control their own bodies.
Pence was understandably loath to discuss Trump’s ongoing efforts to strip health care away from 20 million Americans and leave 100 million more without affordable care due to their pre-existing conditions. He couldn’t describe or defend Trump’s health care plan because — even now, four years after their first campaign — nobody has the plan.
And Pence doubled-down on his and Trump’s opposition to letting women choose.
Harris described a Biden-Harris economic plan based not upon cutting taxes for the richest people and biggest corporations, but rather upon reenergizing American manufacturing and innovation, building a modern infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future, and building an education and caregiving workforce to help ease the burden on working parents, especially women.
Trump has taken us backward on all these issues, so Pence could only try to scare voters with the false specter of a Biden-Harris administration raising taxes on working families. Harris make it clear that Biden will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.
Biden has been transparent with Americans about his health and his taxes, Harris noted, while Americans wonder about Trump’s actual condition and rely on journalists to expose his tax dodges and tremendous debts.
Harris knows we must resume leading the world in fighting climate change, and she and Biden — who with President Obama vastly reduced America’s dependence on foreign energy sources — have a plan to do so while creating millions of good-paying jobs.
Trump — who not only has never “listened to the science,” but in fact opined that “science doesn’t know” — remains hung up on fossil fuels and rants about nonexistent “windmill cancer.”
“Bad cops are bad for good cops,” Harris said as a voice of experience, calling for the criminal justice reforms that America desperately needs. Trump and Pence remain deliberately blind to systemic racism and prefer to talk about protests rather than the long-standing injustices that elicit them.
And as Harris urged Americans to vote despite Trump’s ongoing efforts to silence them, Pence sidestepped Trump’s repeated and unprecedented refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.
Harris offered a vision of building back better as one nation indivisible, and Pence kept preaching Trump’s politics of partisan division. His most aggressive moments Wednesday night were transparent attempts to sow division among Democrats — just deflections from Trump’s myriad failures.
With President Trump ailing from the coronavirus he downplayed, we see more clearly than ever that we must have a vice president who is ready to lead if the need arises.
Pence has played second-chair to a third-rate president who now offers America only a redux of the past four years’ of gaslighting and negligence. Harris showed up Wednesday as a strong, confident leader with solid ideas who is ready to lead.