Election 2016

Nobody Won the VP Debate, Least of All the American Electorate

We don't need more politicians like Kaine and Pence talking over each other. We need more voices and people on the stage debating the country's future.

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About 90 minutes before the vice-presidential debate started, the Republican National Committee posted a press release claiming that Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, "was the clear winner of the debate."

That sort of stunt and Tim Kaine's painfully unfunny and hyper-scripted one-liners help explain why the Republican and Democratic candidates are disliked by large majorities and why party identification is at or near historic lows. Full debate transcript here.

We don't simply need politicians talking over one another like guests on a public-access cable show, we need more voices on the stage having substantive discussions about the future of the country. We didn't get that with the vice-presidential debate and it's unlikely we'll get it in next week's presidential debate either.

Produced by Paul Detrick, Nick Gillespie, and Joshua Swain. Narrated by Gillespie. About 50 seconds.

Updated: For those keeping score, a CNN/ORC poll taken immediately following the debate had Pence winning the debate, 48 percent to 42 percent for Kaine.

NEXT: Admiring Foreign Leaders

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  1. “Do you want a ‘you’re hired’ president in Hillary Clinton or do you want a ‘you’re fired’ president in Donald Trump?”

    Mr. Kaine, Councilman Les Whinen says that your running mate is not honest enough to be president. Sir, what do you have to say about that?

    1. Oh, I bet Hillary will be a “you’re hired” President…if you’re one of her associates.

      If you’re not in her inner circle, you risk getting the White House Travel Office treatment, which makes a mere firing look like an erotic massage.

      1. To which country does Chelsea get to be ambassador?

        1. The Republic of Rich Favor-Seekers and Lax Banking Regulations.

        2. Laos. Then she doesn’t have to do anything but listen to the rice grow. It’s Lao culture.

    2. Pence: “Sure, Hillary’s a you’re hired president – she was hired by Saudi Arabia and all sorts of foreign govts as SoS by contributions. Just imagine how many foreigners will be hiring her as Prez!”

    3. C’mon, are we still waiting for the reply to Fist’s setup, or does everyone know it so well we don’t need to say it anymore?

      “I’d say that Les Whinen ought to do more thinking and less whining!”

    1. It’s called foresight.

  2. The good news is Weld was excluded.

    1. “I’m sure we can all agree on a few common-sense gun laws…”

  3. For scorecard keeping purposes, Pence probably did win. Clinton won the first debate.

    Debates are scripted events and you come prepared to repeat talking points compiled by your debate team. Everyone except Donald Trump knows that. Johnson would hemmed and hawed about how libertarianism can be used for equal opportunity and sensible gun laws are a good thing. His rivals would have went all Aleppo on him.

    Wouldn’t you want Gary Johnson to follow a script on the debate stage? No sticking out tongues and ADMITTING to having an “Aleppo” moment?

  4. So who’s insurance policy is better?

    1. Michael Hihn’s.

    2. To clarify, can either VP candidate do poorly enough this election to deter assassination?

      1. The question really is, “Can the Secret Service do enough to deter assassination?” After Hillary told the Secret Service agent to fuck off after he said good morning, I don’t think they’re so willing to catch a bullet for her.

        1. They were willing to screen her fall from public view. I think the SS is very professional.

  5. About 90 minutes before the vice-presidential debate started, the Republican National Committee posted a press release claiming that Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, “was the clear winner of the debate.”

    Well he pretty much was – except he should have kicked (figuratively, of course) that yip yapping, ankle biter of a mutt, Kaine, in the teeth so as to get him to shut up long enough to finish a thought.

    1. Pence: “Mr Kaine, I’m sorry for speaking while you are interrupting. Your bullying tactics are typical for your species.”

  6. Creepy Tim….I described him before as the church counsellor who likes to take the teenage set on camping trips. Last night he lived up to the stereotype. Limp wristed, effeminate voice and mannerism, talks a little too fast, likes to be center of attention and facial expressions that are just off a bit. What is it with those guys? Do they make ’em with a cookie cutter?

    *shivers*

    1. “Do they make ’em with a cookie cutter?”

      Well all you mammals do look alike

      1. And you kind all taste like chicken.

        1. So do rattlesnakes.

        2. Ya pretty much

      2. Don’t lump all mammals together.

        1. Why not? It requires fewer orbital bombardment shots when we do it that way

          1. Also, now I want to play Stellaris. Monster.

        2. Yes all mammals.

  7. IT’S A….

    … LIBERTARIAN MOMENT!!@#!@#@!#!!!@#$@%%elevenpercentsign

  8. Lots of things to criticize about that debate…..

    …and the best we have is to grab on to a DNC talking point about an RNC gaffe?

    1. Just to underscore my point….. the Clinton campaign proudly trumpeted it’s plan to use social media to help push the media to declare Hillary the winner of the first debate – a week before the debate happened. They made no secret of it at all. They gave interviews all over the place talking about their army of twitter-bots and twitter followers who were set to live-tweet the debate, targeting members of the media covering the debate with the stated intention of creating the impression that they were the winners and that the country was with them and pressuring the media into covering it that way.

      No, seriously. It wasn’t a secret.

      1. Democratic talking points is what reason does these days.

        1. Democratic talking points is what reason does these days.

          Yeah, like criticizing forcing employers to pay for birth control and praising the overturning of a ban on open carry.

          It’s fine to call people out on TDS, but saying reason does Democratic talking points is not accurate.

    2. This was posted at something like 3:00AM. Chill the fuck out.

  9. If Nick is saying nobody won, it must have gone really badly for the Democrats. You are nothing if not transparent and predictable Nick.

    Every Dem media hack got the talking points that the debate didn’t matter and we shouldn’t even have VP debates. I guess Nick got his.

    1. Honestly, I don’t see the point of VP debates. Does anyone really care about the Vice Presidential pick? Clearly Libertarians don’t, since Weld is terrible, but I don’t see any evidence that anyone actually cares. They are pawns.

    2. Remember last cycle when Biden acted like a spoiled man baby, immature, wild, rambling and unprofessional?

      It’s generally seen that he won the debate.

      We’ll see how people react to Kaine trying to do his best Biden impression, hence the hesitance to name a winner.

      Also you don’t win a VP debate, because it’s a VP debate, seriously, only degenerates watch those.

    3. Have you seen the November issue of Reason? The article ‘Who Will Get Our Vote?’ is interesting, mainly because it shows that there are a few people in Reason who have a realistic appreciation of the charms of Hillary, just a few. Well worth a read.

  10. I accidentally watched some of this shit; it was on in two places I happened to be.

    FUCK I HATED IT. FUCK THOSE GUYS AND THE SELF CONGRATULATORY SYSTEM THAT THANKS PPL SETTING UP FUCKING CHAIRS FOR THOSE GUYS.

  11. I watched the first half. My takeaway was, as Suthen mentions above, Tim Kaine has a rather creepy demeanor. Both parties stuck to largely prepared/rehearsed statements. And Tim Kaine was allowed to get away with talking over and interjecting on Mike Pence. But when Mike Pence tried doing it after having been talked over repeatedly, the bitch moderator finally decided to do her job and actually moderate. The news media types are just begging me to vote Trump/Pence, if only to spite them.

    1. It was pretty obvious. Quijano found time to balance her checkbook and eat boogers when Kaine was doing the interrupting, not so much when Pence tried it.

      Honestly I don’t know why the R’s agree to these D moderated debates. They have to know it is a setup. What? Are they not allowed to protest and say what everyone knows is true? They have to pretend the forum is objective?

      Fuck that.

      1. No. The only biased media is Fox News! I thought everyone knew that by now.

        1. Get it right…Faux News!!!

      2. Honestly I don’t know why the R’s agree to these D moderated debates. They have to know it is a setup. What? Are they not allowed to protest and say what everyone knows is true? They have to pretend the forum is objective?

        Back when the debate format was agreed on, the GOP thought they would have a real candidate going up against the eminently unlikeable Hillary, meaning the debates presented a great opportunity for them, even with a hostile moderator. They did not foresee being represented by a clown.

        Also, the moderators have never been this bad.

        1. Back when the debate format was agreed on, the GOP thought they would have a real candidate going up against the eminently unlikeable Hillary, meaning the debates presented a great opportunity for them, even with a hostile moderator. They did not foresee being represented by a clown.

          Also, the moderators have never been this bad.

          Back in the day when the media didn’t take every opportunity to sandbag the republican candidate, regardless of the candidate himself? Yeah those were the good ole days. That was back when I owned a unicorn farm with my leprechaun ex-wife. Those were the days.

  12. These are not debates, they are joint press conferences designed to sell ad time, and build up the ego of some alleged press personality.
    All part of the newspeak of the liberal / progressive / statist / whatever plan to destroy thought by destroying the language.
    Debates involve a single topic, documented facts, and only one live microphone at a time. You can look it up in a history book. there is some type of resolution or proposal, and one side speaks then the other rebuts.
    Like “the federal government should take over the health care industry” or “there should be a balanced amendment to the federal constitution” or “no political candidate can accept any money from anyone for any reason because that is corruption”.
    (and every child should be able to have a pony)

    1. I entirely agree. I’ve never understood why they even call them ‘debates’ anymore, as they bear little-to-no resemblance to that format. It really is more like a joint press conference or a joint speech.

  13. There are codes the left uses when trying to implement the spin.

    “Nobody won” is one such code.

    Had Kaine won, disguised leftists like Nick and his ilk would have focused on the ways Pence screwed up. All the points stating that Kaine won would be quotes from other leftists.

    Had Kaine barely won, tied, or barely lost, Nick and his fellow travelers would have simply let us know that Kaine won handily.

    But Kaine lost outside the margin of fraud. This means that Nick and his comrades have to put on their libertarian masks and declare that no one won–and add, just for some oomph, ‘least of all, the American People’.

    Nick is soooo Ready For Hillary that I picture him stuck, remora-like, to the underside of the Hillary-thing in Sugarfree’s story eagerly lapping up all of her bodily effluvia that falls near his gaping mouth.

    1. you bastard. the image of a remora stuck on Hillary’s wrinkled ass is something that is going to haunt me for years.

      1. “Underside”

        Not “ass”

        “Ass” is too easy. Try to imagine what Hillary’s underside, at this point, looks like.

        And then feel your mind shrink into a tiny, screaming mote of persistence that will forever see a ghastly, moist, gaping obscurity and wonder what it is until the stars fall to cinders in the empty universe.

  14. “We don’t need more politicians like Kaine and Pence talking over each other. ”

    Did you even watch the debate? Kaine was the only one with the bizarre behavior of incessantly talking over his opponent.
    Pence’s far more mature behavior made Kaine look like a sniveling teenager.

  15. One of the oddest phenomenon in American politics — and your article brings it to mind again — is that the American public seems more polarized than ever, yet party identification is at an all time low and the number of independents seems to be rising. This is a paradox. One would think that with rising dissatisfaction with the two party system polarization would be lessening, not growing. How can one be fiercely partisan and dissatisfied with partisanship at the same time.?

    1. You’re talking about two different groups of people.

      The party members are getting more and more polarized (especially on the left), while apathetic/moderate people become more and more disgusted with the parties and leave them in droves.

      1. The party members are getting more and more polarized (especially on the left), while apathetic/moderate people become more and more disgusted with the parties and leave them in droves.

        And it’s the partisan hacks who tend to be more interested in actually going out and voting, while the disgusted independents, unhappy with their choices, either:

        1) stay home and don’t bother (I suspect that’s the largest group)
        2) swallow their pride and vote either the giant douche or the turd sandwich, whichever is the lesser evil in their view (probably the 2nd largest group)
        3) vote for a 3rd party candidate (by far the smallest group)

        All of which leads to the curious development where the highly polarized minority of voters ends up voting for the scumbags who will govern the rest of us, while the majority gets more and more angry and disgusted with the whole situation. Which I’m sure will end well.

        1. I was #3 for GJ but am now leaning towards #1. Sure-I would love to support the LP and see them break 5% or whatever it takes to get matching federal funds for the next election, but I now think that even this might not happen-too bad because I had high hopes for GJ.

  16. Nobody won? Really? I don’t even like Pence, but he clearly won. You people are so obsessed with your hatred of Trump that you can’t even acknowledge basic reality anymore. Even left-wing publications are capable of admitting what happened last night. I’ll still visit this site once in a while, but I’m removing Reason from my twitter feed. There hasn’t been a decent article here in over six months.

    1. It’s Reason and Nick is involved. My lord, just the part that both were “talking over each other” when that is demonstrably untrue says all you need to know. I get that a libertarian publication is not going to love either, but I don’t get what it increasingly seems a quasi-arm of the DNC.

  17. Pence really was the clear winner, really.

  18. I attribute Kaine’s eyebrow movements to the multiple wedgies he must have received as a kid.

  19. Point of any debate is that you have to have an audience that understands things like…oh for instance….logical fallacies. The largest audience for these debates both presidential and vice presidential – excluding ALL of the posters on this board, of curse – is that they want another Snoop Dogg reality show, not an administration. OK so there’s yer proletariat, voting for 8 more years of Harry Reid cattiness so they can nudge their buddies and gurgle “Good one!”

    Debates are about advertising not discourse, kinda like the Olympics and just about everything else. Clickbait. The first clickbait president is……………………………..

  20. Who won? If you’re looking for facts and logical arguments then it was a draw because not a single fact was put forth other than identifying both Trump and Clinton as scum.

    If you were looking at demeanor then Pence won.
    If you like snide snipping then Kaine won.

    If you missed the debate entirely then you won.

    1. yeh…I won!

  21. We need people who get good things done, not just gas endlessly about what needs to be done.

  22. It could have been worse. Weld could have been there embarrassing himself by talking about gun control.

  23. The winner is the guy who manages to use every single informal fallacy. Correct?

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