The name on everybody's lips is Kamala — and that includes Vice President Mike Pence, who said that he "can’t wait" for their first debate. While Pence didn’t quite admit that he was ready to be crushed by Sen. Kamala Harris, a notably proficient debater, many are already speculating what a Harris-Pence debate will really look like. Based on his comments, though, Pence feels he is prepared.
During an appearance on Hannity Wednesday night, the vice president said he’s looking forward to debating Harris in their first debate scheduled for October in Utah. “I just have to tell you, you know, I like the matchup,” Pence said. “It’s on, Sean. I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Pence then went on to suggest the Democratic ticket had been taken over by the so-called "radical left" — an exciting new Trump administration talking point that has gained some traction among his supporters in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality. “I think she is a skilled debater,” Pence told the Fox host. “But I can’t wait to get to Salt Lake City and be on the stage with her to compare Joe Biden’s nearly 50 years of public life, the agenda of the radical left, the agenda that she’s embraced throughout her political career.”
Many Republicans have made similar claims about Harris, painting her as a “radical left” and even “socialist” candidate. In a Fox appearance of her own this week, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said Biden chose Harris as his running mate to “placate the very far socialist left of [Biden’s] party.” Jason Miller, an advisor to President Trump echoed the same, tweeting that Biden’s VP pick proves the “radical left-wing mob has taken complete control of” his campaign. It seems Pence plans to continue this rhetoric and likely bring it onto the debate stage.
Despite the fear-mongering from conservatives over “socialism” and “anarchy” within the Democratic establishment, Harris isn’t exactly considered radical by the left. Harris may have a progressive voting record in Congress, and the California senator has been vocal in her support for abortion access and DACA, but many people have been critical of her prosecutorial record, including her support for an anti-truancy program that threatened to jail parents if their kids missed school, and her prior opposition to gender-affirming surgeries for incarcerated trans people.
Harris has since taken responsibility for the latter, and community organizers vow to continue holding her accountable if Biden and Harris win come November. And it looks like they might have a chance. The Democratic vice presidential nominee has a higher favorability rating than Trump, Pence and even Biden, according to a survey conducted by ABC News/Ipsos.
But when it comes to the debate stage, Harris has proven time and again that she’s a force to be reckoned with. The California Democrat pressed Biden on his controversial record on civil rights, and she fervently questioned Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the sexual assault allegations brought against him in 2018. Based on her impressive debating alone, Pence should probably be more worried than excited for this match-up.