Biden v Ryan 2012
Paul Ryan was supposed to be the young, fresh “exciting!” candidate to balance out Romney’s milquetoast, past-his-prime factor. It didn’t quite work, and in my opinion came off like Bush/Quayle round 2, the return of the stuffy party insider and his sadistic, pridefully ignorant protege.
Like the third Presidential debate of the same cycle, this begins with Benghazi. It’s great to see Biden completely neuter Ryan’s expected attacks on this by bringing up how Ryan voted to slash the security budget for foreign embassies and how the Romney/Ryan team was borderline gloating about the attack and using it to score political points. In fact, this debate is great because you see Biden take off the kid gloves he was obviously using with Palin. He destroys Ryan’s empty platitudes and talking points one by one as they’re brought up as efficiently (and nearly as charismatically) as Obama did to Romney in the Presidential debates. If fact, after watching this debate I feel comfortable saying that out of every VP candidate of the 2000s, Biden is the best debater/orator by far. I wouldn’t say Ryan is the worst necessarily, but going up against someone inherently more likable, energetic and with way more experience he comes up far short. The GOP supporters acting like Ryan was some great prodigy, a rising star in the party, their future hope, are fooling themselves. He’s the perfect example of a paper tiger, an empty suit, similar to what Gary Hart was for the Democrats in 1984.
I especially like how Biden laughs Ryan off when he says anything particularly ridiculous or out of line. It’s similar what Gore tried to accomplish with his sighing in 2000, signalling that the opposing candidate’s arguments are so insipid as to be beneath you, but here it comes off a lot better. The sighing made Gore look like a joyless, stick up his ass, I’m-too-good-for-this jerk. The laughing makes Biden look fun, not too serious, and personable while also having the effect of dismissing what his opponent is saying. He also calls Ryan “my friend” which gives an air of levity despite the fact he’s very aggressive and doesn’t let Ryan land a single blow. Biden grills him mercilessly on specifics every time Ryan tries to spin some magic budget or Ayn Rand inspired platitudes. Biden even references the single greatest debate zinger of all time (“Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”) by saying “oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” to a receptive reaction from the crowd and knowing look from Ryan.
You can skip the previous three VP debates, ’00-’08, but you simply have to watch this one. It’s another perfect example of what to do (via Biden) and what not to do (via Ryan) in a debate. It’s just as lopsided and entertaining as its Presidential counterparts from ’12 and an invaluable asset for wannabe politicians or debaters to study and learn from.
Pence v Kaine 2016
Sorry in advance for the length. Rather than type out a general summary and reaction to the debate as a whole, for this one I felt compelled to do a point by point “commentary track” style of review since both candidates pissed me off so much and the issues discussed (or lack thereof) hit so close to home.
I remember before this aired I predicted that it would buck historical trends and be a pivotal moment in the election, since Hillary’s health and Trump’s deal to Kasich (handle domestic and foreign policy for me) seemed to indicate the VP would quickly take over regardless of which team won. I also said I thought it might be our only opportunity to meaningfully discuss policy in the whole debate cycle, since the Presidential outings were nothing but personal barbs. Neither prediction came true, sadly. Instead, it was like all other VP debates and had no discernible impact on the race. It was also like all other events in the 2016 campaign—completely dominated by the presence of Trump and his abrasive personality.
I should let you know from the get-go that I strongly dislike both candidates here. I think Pence is one of, if not the scariest person in government right now. I think Kaine was a horrendously tone deaf choice who further alienated progressives from Hillary. Not because he wasn’t Bernie but because he was another Centrist neoliberal and a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He did nothing to make up for the lack of energy or charisma Hillary had. His awkward broken Spanish and embarrassing imitation of Trump in his DNC speech was cringe inducing and revealed that the Democrats had no idea what this race was really about. In effect, both of these two men represent the very worst qualities of their respective parties. The difference is Pence was actually a wise choice from a right-wing POV since Trump needed a calm, Christian VP to balance his brazen unscrupulousness and morally degenerate lifestyle. Hillary needed someone young, progressive, fresh and interesting but she chose an ugly, annoying Center-Right goober who speaks broken Spanish.
I find it strange and even somewhat disconcerting that they’re wearing ties with the color of the opposite party, just as Hillary and Trump did in the first debate. Seems like a weird coincidence.
Kaine’s opening spiel is pretty groan-inducing, referencing the college’s tangential relationship with Brown v Board of Education might be interesting but it feels like pandering and virtue signaling. He doesn’t answer the question and even pivots to talking about why Hillary chose him for VP. It feels very vacuous and rehearsed, especially the emphasis on how “historic” the administration would be.
Of course, Pence just makes my skin crawl. He’s smooth, he’s courteous, he’s personable…and he’d like very much to see me dead, or lose my healthcare and right to work or use a public bathroom. He’s dangerous precisely because he has so much hate in him but is able to hide it in a calm exterior. It’s like watching Brandon in Hitchcock’s Rope. Your gut is just screaming for you to get away. Like Kaine, his opening spiel feels very hallow and focus-grouped, emphasizing his old fashioned Americana roots.
By Kaine’s very definition of being trustworthy, Hillary falls short. Watching that PBS documentary revealed to me that Hillary used to love the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, especially Bobby Kennedy. I have to ask why then she spent the majority of her adult life—from the ’90s on, let’s say—weeding out or overpowering that same progressive wing in the party. You can say it was to get elected or to enact an incremental change. But it’s been two decades…and for much of that time, Democrats were in power. The Clintons by all accounts had a lot of pull in the DNC from the ’90s to the ’10s. They could have funded and groomed some great progressive candidates in all that time. Even ones like Howard Dean (who did NOT advocate for single payer) could and should have had the full backing of the Clinton machine but were instead allowed to be blocked out by Centrists such as John Kerry. It seems to me, one way or another, Hillary lost that supposed passion for progress. You can’t even argue that she had passion for social progress if not economic because she was a vocal opponent of LGBT rights until 2013 when it was cool. If opinion polls were still anti-gay marriage, you know she’d still be throwing us under the bus for the chance at a few dozen votes.
In the same answer, Kaine begins what will be an insufferable motif of this debate—pivoting everything back to Donald Trump, how offensive he is, and how he hasn’t released his tax returns. I’m hoping I won’t have to write too much here, because a LOT of my thoughts on this debate amounted to “ugh, shut up Kaine! Stop telling us what we already know about Trump and talk policy/about yourself!!” I remember the next day articles were written trying to whitewash Kaine’s abysmal performance as “a masterful example of campaign strategy!” since he was “forcing Pence to tie himself closer with Trump.” And perhaps in another universe where the top of the ticket was actually discussing policy in their ads/debates and we hadn’t been bombarded with “but Trump though!” every second of everyday already that might have been smart. As is, it just really felt like this was the only card the Hillary camp had to play. They couldn’t talk about policy because they had no policy (that would appeal to us plebeians) and they couldn’t talk about themselves because they’re boring and/or extremely privileged and phony. So they spent all their time hammering on the opposition, which history shows (Clay vs Polk, Blaine vs Cleveland) is a terrible strategy.
In Pence’s semi-defense, there is a bit of truth to the accusations he made that Hilary was a lousy SOS. Obviously the Middle East being such a mess as it was has a lot to do with Bush II, but she/Obama share in a lot of the blame, particularly their intervention in Libya (Hillary’s brainchild, and Obama’s self-declared biggest regret of his own Presidency)
During this second answer of Pence’s, Kaine starts engaging in his now infamous interruptions. Pence can barely get half a sentence in edgewise without Kaine jumping in like an ornery, impatient toddler. It’s as though he hears certain buzzwords like “Russia” and immediately springs into his planned talking points lest he forget them. He either doesn’t realize how childish and irritating it is to watch (I’m sure in Kaine’s mind, doing this makes him a John Wayne caliber bad ass) or else he just can’t help himself. Considering this is a national election with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, you’d think someone would have said something to Kaine in debate prep. He’s so bad, I actually have to wonder…was there any debate prep? Were they so arrogant they thought it wasn’t necessary since they “had it in the bag?” Or were the people coaching Kaine really just *that* idiotic to where they didn’t realize how badly he would come across doing this? Considering the hubris and incompetence that plagued all other aspects of the Clinton campaign I would believe either explanation. Whatever the case, this is political malpractice. It’s not as if Clinton and Kaine gave a good go of it and were just out-classed. They ruined their chances with a ton of unforced errors that even amateurs would’ve avoided.
Not to belabor the above point, but I was following Reddit’s r/Politics livestream of this debate as it transpired and I remember around this point the comments became a succession of “omg Kaine shut up!”/”I hate Pence, but let him speak”/”goddamn, Kaine is blowing it” and other phrases to that effect. I felt the same way and everyone I know who saw the debate seemed to share the same overall impression when I asked for their thoughts. Not that they mean much either, but literally EVERY SINGLE COMMENT on the YouTube video I’m watching this through says they think Pence won and find Kaine annoying. I know I’m almost beating a dead horse now, but it’s impossible to overstate just how often Kaine interrupts, how annoying it is, and what a negative impact it had on viewers like myself.
When the moderator meekly tries to call out Kaine for interrupting, he responds “Isn’t this a discussion?” and I just want to facepalm. Has this man, who by his own admission served at all levels of government, running with the supposed “most qualified candidate ever!!!” really never seen a debate before? Not just a televised presidential debate but like…even in high school or college? Is he really that dense or was that just a weak off the cuff excuse for his behavior?
Kaine, like Hillary, is pretty terrible with the one-liners as well. Thus far he’s said “you really are Trump’s apprentice!” and “Pence really doesn’t think the world’s going so well and he wants to blame everyone for it” while Pence just replies calmly “do you??” In general, by this point just 10 minutes in, Kaine starts appearing EXTREMELY flustered and insecure. He was the first to take a dig at either of the Presidential candidates, but when Pence begins responding in kind by attacking Hillary, Kaine gets very visibly agitated and tries to drown him out repeatedly. It’s like Kaine is so unsure of her/the campaign’s sturdiness he feels the need to come to her/its defense immediately lest the whole rotten candidate/structure collapse immediately.
When the moderator chastises Pence for interrupting later on, Kaine, like a petulant child, says “yeah that’s right! Now we’re even!” He looks like a little kid who was waiting all this time to pay back a perceived slight. Or like a momma’s boy going “nana! You got in trouble!!” Pence just suppresses a laugh and shakes his head as if watching a cute puppy misbehave.
Successful Moments For Each Candidate
I actually do believe Kaine when he talks up the benefits of Hillary’s tax plan and explains why Trump’s is bad. However the fact that Kaine could not refute Pence’s accusations about how he left his state in debt and raised taxes dramatically means there’s truth to those accusations as well.
Pence’s response to Kaine on the tax plan “voters in Scranton know different. There are people suffering…” kind of hints towards the overall paradox and divide of America today. In many ways, yes, the raw data and numbers might look great. 15 million jobs…GDP is high…stock prices up… But then most if not all of those jobs are temporary/part time/no benefits…78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck…CEOs benefit from big stock gains but not workers, whose wages have been stagnant for decades. And while I’m sure things have still improved for some through neoliberal economics, many have been left behind and nobody is looking out for them. The establishment left those people out to dry and made the rise of a populist demagogue like Trump not only possible but inevitable. This resentment is what the ’16 Republican ticket was able to tap into where Hillary was too stuck in her own privileged little bubble to notice.
I actually do like Kaine’s answer about community policing. I think the divide between cops and the people they’re supposed to protect is a big reason for violence and cops believing they’re presiding over a war zone. Pence’s answer, deifying cops, rubs me the wrong way. As someone who’s had bad experiences with police and had friends who have as well, this rhetoric prevents people from having a healthy skepticism of authority. Also I hate Pence’s “at the risk of…agreeing with you…” soundbite with a white hot passion. That’s just such a shameful thing to say and perfectly encapsulates how awful the discourse is in America. God forbid we try to agree or find common ground. Seems to me we would all benefit from that rather than being at each others’ throats, assuming the worst and looking for excuses to fight all the time. It actually looked like it brought Pence physical pain to say that.
Pence also (wisely, from a strategic POV) harps on the “basket of deplorables” line as Trump did in the other debates. It really was a stupid, ridiculous thing for Hillary to say and gave Trump’s campaign SO MUCH ammo to deflect to. Her saying that made it so neither she nor Kaine could harp on Trump’s extraordinary divisiveness without appearing like hypocrites. And again, for the supposed “best candidate ever!!!” as she was hyped to be, you’d think Hillary would be smart enough to realize that you do NOT insult the voters. EVER. It’s just awful strategy and guaranteed to bite you in the ass.
It will not go down in history as one of the great debate moments, but I do love it when Pence said “did you work on that a long time? Because that had a lot of…creative lines in it.” It’s the perfect zinger that summarizes the dynamic between these two (and the campaigns they represent.) Kaine just got done spouting this long, rehearsed diatribe about Trump being unstable, and when he ends it, he has this haughty, self-satisfied look on his face as if he just delivered the put-down of the century. And Pence, totally improvised, just knocks him down a peg and then continues on without missing a beat. Hillary/Kaine had been planning for this moment for almost a decade if not their whole adult lives. Trump did it last minute “for the lulz” and Pence opportunistically hopped along for the ride. Hillary/Kaine arrogantly thought it was in the bag, yet the best they could manage are these weak ass moments like these which consistently fall flat. It’s the goody-two shoes/teacher’s pet vs the laid back underachieving stoners, but the former forgot they were going to be judged in a popularity contest.
Another great understated line: When Pence is talking about seeing the Pentagon hit on 9/11 and Kaine pointlessly interjects “I was in Virginia” so Pence snaps “I know you were” in a deservedly dismissive tone. Kaine really just cannot help himself–he’s like a little brown-nose who can’t stand to NOT be the one answering a question in class.
Once again, Hillary’s emails come up. Pence uses it to claim Hillary is unfit to oversee the new era of cyber-warfare. Like him or hate him, that was a compelling point. However if the Russian collusion accusations turn out to be true, that makes Trump and Pence complicit in this cyber warfare.
Moments That Fall Flat
I hate the “how do you know that?” rebuttal Kaine uses, especially with that smug little “haha, gotcha there!” grin. Same with his non answer (like Hillary’s) where he directs voters to read their stupid book, Stronger Together which I guarantee no one has ever done ever.
Pence’s attempt to parrot Reagan “there you go again” complete with long pause, is a pretty cringe-worthy moment. It seems like nobody except Trump himself was able to land a half decent zinger in all of 2016.
I don’t see how being a Senator when 9/11 happened means you’re somehow more qualified to stop terrorism. Being in the situation room when Bin Laden was killed doesn’t mean Hillary was personally was responsible for that either. It’s fine to bring that up once or twice, but the way Kaine harps on that point again and again you’d think Hillary personally hunted Bin Laden down and subdued him with her bare hands before crucifying him on an American flag pole or something. To me, it just reeks of lack of accomplishments in any other regard as SOS if all you can say is “Bin Laden happened to die during my tenure.” By that logic, HW Bush is personally responsible for the fall of the USSR and Berlin Wall.
Pence dodges a question about domestic terrorism. Even the moderator calls him out on it. He claims it starts with controlling immigration but doesn’t make a compelling case for how they’re related. However, Kaine really dropped the ball in my opinion by not tying the Orlando shooting to Right-wing bigotry and religious attacks on LGBT rights. As someone in that community I remember feeling ignored, even betrayed, by Kaine’s lack of attention to that shooting and my rights in general. Instead, Kaine focuses, yet again, on attacking Trump’s “offensiveness” to Muslims alone. Glad to know we’re lower on the minority-status totem pole.
Pence might have had another great line with the “I get why you wanna talk about the tax returns, must have looked great in a focus group” but his stammering delivery ruins it.
Pence’s “Donald Trump is not a polished politician” line was artificially blown up to be this big damning quote that meant Pence somehow got blown away by Kaine. I remember rolling my eyes at that transparent media spin. In the first place, that betrays the fact that most outlets did not or refused to understand Trump’s appeal. He got popular precisely because he wasn’t polished. He spoke his mind and didn’t apologize for it, he spoke like a lot of average Joes (what that says about some average Americans well…), wasn’t afraid to mention taboo opinions and never backed down. Hillary, by contrast, was seen as very robotic, manufactured, two-faced and insincere. That’s obviously what Pence was referring to in his defense, and it was hardly a damning statement on Trump regardless. Besides, if that’s really the best “OMG the Trump camp fucked up, LOL!!” moment the media could pick out, that’s really sad. Even if you do believe that it made Trump or Pence look bad, surely you can agree it’s hardly a “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” or “Please proceed, Governor” moment.
Like all the other moderators from 2016 except Chris Wallace, this one is terrible. Ironically with the first female nominee for president, this woman’s plight shows that we still face a lot of subtle sexism today. She’s constantly talked over and can barely corral the candidates since her voice is so easily overpowered. Kaine, for all his virtue signaling about being pro-women and Pence for his supposed all-American-boy charm, both seem to almost forget she’s there at times and just bicker like kids. Or, Kaine runs his mouth (often over Pence’s allotted time) while Pence gives a hilarious “oh how cute, he dosen’t know any better” look one might give to someone else’s misbehaving toddler in public.
I don’t see why the moderator decides it’s important to talk about Aleppo late in the debate after everything they’ve said previously regarding their thoughts on intervention and foreign policy. That said, Pence’s attacks on Putin and Russia here are almost certainly the ONLY time the Trump campaign OR administration has ever spoken out against them. It’s interesting to witness that at least.
I cant believe I’m saying this, but this might have been a great opportunity to have one of those “ask each other a question” segments that used to be in debates. When Kaine harps on how Pence has yet to defend Trump, I actually think that warrants a response, but the moderator tries to move things along to some pointless, arcane foreign policy topics instead. So instead Kaine starts harping on the tax returns yet again in an unrelated question. Seeing this debate for a second time, I can actually better understand Kaine’s frustration at this point, dealing with a man who won’t acknowledge the facts. He handled it in a bad way that made him look whiny and petulant. However, Kaine never really got a chance to address the issue in a more dignified matter thanks to this moderator’s bizarre focus on esoteric foreign policy questions.
Before long, I was sick of hearing about the Iran deal by this point, which had been brought up in perhaps 4 questions in a row thus far. From my understanding, that deal was John Kerry’s brainchild and Hillary had nothing to do with it. I kept thinking “ok, we get it, move it along, already!” I was tired of hearing about Russia and Putin as well. This has also been the focus of about 20 minutes now of a 90 minute debate. When climate change, infrastructure, drug law reform or the opioid crisis, LGBT rights and healthcare aren’t talked about AT ALL this is a serious problem. This debate has perhaps the worst collection of irrelevant, abstruse topics I’ve yet to encounter.
Later on, the moderator gets a round of applause when she reminds the two (after they’d just rambled on about the Clinton foundation) that the question was about North Korea. It’s clear neither one is very enthusiastic about discussing this subject, so I’m really annoyed when the moderator decides to press the issue and ask a SECOND question about North Korea instead of read the room and move the fuck on already. This is another great example of how the debate structure ought to be fixed; why should one pompous moderator get to waste precious debate time forcing discussions on topics the candidates and 99% of the audience couldn’t give a damn about? You really have to watch this for yourself to understand how long the foreign policy goes on and how recondrite the actual scenarios are.
When the moderator FINALLY mentions the magic words “social issues” I remember that live stream on Reddit going wild. Someone quoted the Joker from The Dark Knight (“now here..we…go”) and everyone else was looking forward to Pence having to defend his abysmal record on women and LGBT rights. For a lot of people including myself it was a big, big deal because our livelihoods were at stake. This whole debate was about neocon red lines for declaring war or taking action abroad when it wasn’t about rehashing the damn emails or tax returns for the millionth time. To FINALLY discuss domestic issues at the last ten minutes (!!!!!) felt like a breath of fresh air.
Domestic Policy (Fucking Finally!)
…And boy oh boy were we disappointed. The question is about religious faith, and we get to hear both men needlessly chest bump about what a good Christian they are. Because that’s what we wanted to hear, LGBT Americans, racial minorities and women. We wanted to hear that either one of these two imbeciles are also a religious nut. I’d expect it from Pence, it’s disappointing coming from Kaine too.
If it wasn’t bad enough how bad Kaine blew it up to this point with his interruptions or cloying demeanor, watch these last ten or so minutes. He had a gift-wrapped attack against Pence to bring up the nightmare he left his state in and he didn’t take it. He got so caught up in defending Hillary that he forgot his other goal for the night was supposed to be tearing down Pence and defending those without a voice to do so. So many of us gay, bi or trans people wanted to see Pence’s feet held to the fire for his horrifying actions and it just never came. Anyone watching who didn’t know about the AIDS epidemic, forced funerals for fetuses or draconian anti-LGBT laws Pence oversaw would walk away thinking he was just an average Republican, no more no less, when he’s actually a terrifying extremist.
And because of Kaine’s penchant for throwing offensive Trump quotes around for the millionth time, we waste this scarce time once again talking about Trump’s offensive Mexican quote and immigration. It’s horrendous. LGBT Americans were completely forgotten if not outright thrown under the bus this whole election by the Clinton camp. The Democrats didn’t defend us after Orlando, and they didn’t defend us to the face of evil when he was sitting right there.
To emphasize that point, it bothers me in the next question when Kaine goes out of his way to say Pence is not party to Trump’s divisiveness except for the fact he can’t defend Trump’s statements. I just wanted to shout at my TV when that happened. Kaine just completely let a man as bad as if not worse than Trump or Cruz off the hook Scott-free. Again, listening as an LGBT person I felt absolutely betrayed by that feckless waffling in the face of existential threat. To resort to Godwin’s Law, it’d be like giving Himmler a pass on everything except that he’s friends with Hitler. Just makes no sense whatsoever and represents a weak, careless, unforced betrayal of principles. I will never forgive Kaine for that blunder and I say again it represents political malpractice.
Furthermore, I think Kaine totally lost the point of the last question about bringing the other side into the fold. I interpreted that to be about appealing to laymen, but all Kaine could say is Hillary has worked across the aisle in the past. As a frustrated working class person, I read that and I think “well of course patricians in the Senate like each other behind closed doors.” It strikes me as tone deaf again. Of course, Pence’s answer is even worse. Just meaningless platitudes and political cliches without any substance whatsoever.
In conclusion, this was a train wreck of a debate on many levels, just like its presidential counterparts. Once again, the moderation was terrible. She could not get the candidates to stop interrupting, nor stay on topic and picked terrible questions to discuss.
Kaine was a joke. He ended up being the perfect right-wing strawman for what the average whiny “beta,” social justice warrior, Democratic male-feminist looks like. That is, constantly interrupting, being holier-than-thou for having the “correct” opinions, and unable to engage the other person in any way except point out how “offensive” and “problematic” they are. He looked like he spent all his time memorizing facts and figures about Hillary’s life and Trump’s greatest hits rather than debate strategy, his actual opponent or what voters cared about.
Pence spent the whole debate denying basic facts about his running mate, dodging questions and relying on vacuous political cliches. However, Kaine allowed him to escape this encounter in far better shape than he had a right to. Pence never had to account for his awful reputation as governor. He got to look like the calm, gentlemanly adult in the room because Kaine made himself look like such an insufferable child.
For myself (and probably many others too) the ridiculously pro-Hillary/Kaine coverage about the debates rang false and lent credence to the theory that the media was in the bag for her. Considering how dangerous Trump is, I do understand why some outlets felt the need to go all out against him. However, Hillary and Kaine were so bad that this flowery coverage did not ring true to me at all. It’s almost like Hillary/Kaine thought Trump/Pence would self destruct on-stage of their own accord, which obviously didn’t happen. Or maybe they believed that nobody would actually watch the debates and would just rely on the talking heads’ spin to form their own opinion.
It became impossible to have a reasoned, objective discussion about these debates at the time because a) both sides’ supporters were so in the bag for them that everyone just saw what they wanted to see and b) to say that Trump/Pence actually didn’t do as bad as the popular narrative claimed meant acknowledging that a big part of debate strategy relies on working the room and emotional appeals not intelligence or policy. I got a lot of flak the entire year for acknowledging the Trump campaign made some smart moves strategically and did better than they were being given credit for in the debates despite going to great lengths to clarify I didn’t agree with his policies. The Democrats, both the campaigners and laymen, got too cocky that their “morally correct” opinions would win the day. They forgot, or didn’t care, about the need to actually listen to voters and earn their vote. They were living in a bubble and woke up to a serious reality check.
Overall, and I hate to say it because I loathe Pence, but he won this debate hands down. If you just watched this without knowing the context of the campaign or his governorship, he comes off looking better than Kaine. Even for me as someone who is familiar with both, I thought they each looked pretty awful in different ways. Since the debate was Kaine’s to lose and his campaign was billed as the most prepared/experienced ever, “Hillary’s planned this moment since she was a girl” I think he lost by default. To tie with Trump/Pence in these debates meant to lose. I was disappointed as a Democrat at the weakness of the candidate. I was disappointed as a leftist by the lack of progressive measures being advocated for. I was disappointed as an amateur political analyst due to the lack of policy discussion. And finally, I was disappointed as a transwoman because my rights as a woman and member of the LGBT community were completely ignored in this debate. Kaine fucked up, and inexcusably so.