Debate against Pence: Before TV duel: Kamala Harris is Biden’s wild card in the fight against Trump
After Trump’s Covid disease became known, it is unclear how the election campaign in the USA will continue. The focus is now on the candidates for the vice-presidency. Kamala Harris is already traded as a “wild card” for a democratic election victory.
Usually the TV duel between the vice-presidential candidates is a rather disgraceful routine in the American election campaign. Part of the traditional program, maybe good enough to make headlines for a day or two; but more of a sideline in the battle for the White House.
Usually. Because nothing is normal in the 2020 election campaign. Not only is this year’s presidential election taking place amid a global pandemic and American recession. The election campaign between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is also more bitter than any before. Most recently, the two delivered a TV debate that got completely out of hand.
And then the president infected himself with the virus. As a result, it was discussed who would take over the office in the worst case. It would be Vice President Mike Pence.
And the TV debate between him and the Democratic candidate Kamala Harris takes on a completely different meaning. Both meet on Wednesday evening (local time), and everything indicates that this exchange of blows should be anything but disdainful routine.
Kamala Harris dealt heavily against Biden before
After Trump’s much-criticized appearance in the debate against Biden and the chaos caused by his illness, his values fell in several polls. Nationwide, the Republican is now ten to 16 percentage points behind the Democrat. Trump’s vice Mike Pence will do everything possible to score against Kamala Harris.
But she is considered a tough opponent. Already during the democratic primary elections, she distributed powerfully – especially against her current ally Biden, against whom she was still running at the time. On the subject of racism, she landed a verbal hit, the video of it went viral.
“Harris is a kind of joker”
At this appearance she also showed how she can develop her emotionality into a strength. And a new study now suggests that this could enormously increase her chances of winning the election with Biden.
“Harris is a kind of wild card in the highly emotional competition for president,” says Timo Järvinen, CEO of “NayaDaya”, who carried out this study with YouGov, and Statista. “She is able to arouse extremely interesting emotions that can be decisive for the election result.”
Candidates arouse “fear” and “disgust” in voters
Because positive emotions are something that Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Joe Biden apparently find it difficult to spark in the voters. The analysis looked at how US voters would feel if the Republicans or Democrats won the election. While the (re) election of Trump, Biden and Pence mainly evokes feelings like “disgust”, “fear” and “disappointment”, the election of Kamala Harris would have a significantly different effect. No candidate manages to create as much emotional added value for his team as Harris.
Of the roughly 1,300 Americans surveyed, more than half associate positive emotions with a Harris and Biden victory. A re-election of Donald Trump, on the other hand, would only trigger positive feelings in 37 percent – 54 percent even say the opposite. Only Mike Pence’s confirmation in office would evoke even less positive feelings.
Harris scores with crucial target groups
Female voters in particular cite positive feelings about a potential election victory for Kamala Harris:
- Proud 10 percent
- Admiration 10 percent
- Interest 9 percent
With Trump, Biden and Pence, negative feelings predominate at this point. Their election seems to be motivated above all by the fact that the voters want to avoid what they consider to be the “greater evil”, namely the opposing candidate. Only with Harris do voters actually seem For to be her instead of just being versus the or the other candidate.
These findings are crucial for Biden. Because Harris is particularly popular in those target groups that Trump’s team is also highly competitive:
- African American voters: 54 percent favor Harris, 11 percent pence
- Low-income voters: 40 percent favor Harris, 21 percent pence
- Young voters between 18 and 34 years of age: 40 percent favor Harris, 19 percent pence
In general, 42 percent of the survey favored Harris and only 27 percent favored pence. From an emotional point of view, Kamala Harris is the star of the Democrats and possibly the secret weapon for moving into the White House, according to study director Järvinen. “It will now be interesting to see how Team Biden plays this card and how Trump’s team still tries to attack Harris in the remaining weeks of the campaign.”
Harris and Pence prepare for TV debate
According to media reports, both Pence and Harris prepare intensively for the debate, receive briefings on political issues, work out answers to potential questions and face tough, albeit simulated, speech duels with party colleagues.
Harris’ weaknesses include, above all, her tough domestic political stance, which is considered controversial by liberal voters, and her positions on health care, for which Harris has been attacked from all political directions in the past. Pence’s weakness is his leadership in the Corona crisis and his positions on climate change and social injustice.
Change of strategy because of Trump’s COVID illness
Both have to be careful with their rhetoric. Pence will be careful to avoid attacks that could be interpreted as attacks on Harris as a woman or a person with a migrant background.
And Harris also has to adjust her tone, since Trump is now sick with Covid himself. Although she can criticize Trump’s strategy in the corona crisis, she also has to be sensitive to the president’s illness.
Harris announces toughness against pence
She has already announced harshness on one topic: She will not tolerate untruths, she said at an event. In the debate between Trump and Biden, the President had repeatedly made unproven and false statements. “I won’t stand still when [Mike Pence] Lying delivers, “Harris said.” Joe and I have a lot in common, and one of them is that we don’t dodge a good fight when it’s worth fighting. “