PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The political divide was actually visible Wednesday night as Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris debated with a clear partition between them. It was perhaps one of the most historic vice presidential debates in recent history.
“The conventional wisdom is these undercard debates typically don’t matter. People don’t pay attention to them,” said David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy.
But if 2020 has taught us anything, this year and this election is anything but typical.
“We’re in the midst of a pandemic and an economic dislocation that is severe,” Thornburgh said.
Thornburgh, the president and CEO of nonprofit non-partisan political advocacy group Committee of Seventy, says the uncertainty about the health of both President Trump and Joe Biden are reasons why all eyes were on this debate.
“Either one of these folks that debate tonight could very well be president in the next four years because we have two of the oldest candidates running for president in the history of the country,” Thornburgh said.
The one and only vice presidential debate comes less than a week after President Trump announced he had contracted COVID-19. The economy and civil unrest were also discussed.
Thornburgh says this back and forth will be the focus for the days to come.
“Some folks are saying that because of the president’s illness and potential ramifications, this could be the last debate period of the presidential election season. So all the more significance and consequence, but of course, we don’t know. We’ve got, I guess, 28 or 27 days left and lord knows what could happen between now and then,” Thornburgh said.
On Tuesday, Biden said there should not be a second debate if the president is still infected with the coronavirus. The next presidential debate is scheduled for next Thursday in Miami.