Wednesday, October 5, 2016


As readers of this site know, I both predicted and supported
Hillary Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine to be her vice
presidential running mate. Moderate in his record, genial
and likable, I thought it was a very good match.

The public response to Mr. Kaine’s performance in last night’s
only televised vice presidential debate in Virginia indicates
that Mr. Kaine and his advisers made a serious mistake in his
debate manner, that is, his constant and usually annoying
interruptions of his opponent Mike Pence.

I also thought Mr. Pence was a good choice by Donald Trump
as his running mate, and the Indiana governor fulfilled that
with a steady and calm demeanor in the debate.

Reasonable arguments can be made that each of the vice
presidential nominees had good arguments on the issues that
strengthened them with their respective political bases, but a
national TV debate, especially when there is only one, is mostly
about visceral impression. The overwhelming consensus, even
among many liberal media commentators, was that Mr. Pence
won the evening.

What Mr. Kaine had most to offer supporters of Mrs. Clinton
was that, in addition to competency for the job, he was likable,
something his running mate was not. After last night’s debate,
the Democrats now have a ticket with two persons who could
be perceived as less than likable. Mr. Trump is also perceived
negatively by many voters, but now he could be perceived as
someone with not only a competent, but a likable running mate.

This will not have a huge impact on the final vote. The second
person on a national ticket rarely does. But it does give Mr.
Trump a boost at a time when he really needs it, and gives him
an instructive model for his own approach to his upcoming
second debate with Mrs. Clinton.

In their first debate, both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton
frequently interrupted each other, and I think that such a tactic
dos not appeal to most undecided voters --- the voters who
now count the most to who wins on November 8.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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