What to know before you watch tonight’s VP debate

This piece was originally published in the October 7, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

Source: AP

“Unity…is not about a Hallmark card.”

Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, on redefining what it means to be united. Rather, she says, unity is about everyone being respected and having a voice.

The U.S. makes up just 4% of the global population — but 20% of all coronavirus deaths.

It didn’t have to be like this.

Share this on Facebook and Twitter to get the facts out:


  • Tonight is the first and only vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris. The debate will be moderated by Susan Page of USA Today and will run from 9–10:30 pm ET. You can watch it on most major news channels or stream it online. And don’t forget to follow along with our team for live fact-checking and analysis.
  • Here’s what to expect from tonight’s debate. The candidates will be situated next to plexiglass barriers upon the request of the Biden-Harris campaign (and much to the dismay of the Trump-Pence campaign, which pushed back on this multiple times). Both candidates tested negative for COVID-19 today. Still, many are concerned about the fact that the vice president hasn’t been isolating after being seated near attendees of the infamous Rose Garden event who have since contracted the virus.

REALITY CHECK: A new analysis found that a quarter of the media coverage surrounding Senator Harris included racist and sexist tropes. As the first Black and Indian-American woman vice presidential nominee of a major party, she is likely to face attacks on both fronts — and it’s on us to call it out. Use the hashtag #WeHaveHerBack to show solidarity with Kamala during tonight’s debate.

  • Mike Pence will be hard pressed to justify his record as vice president tonight. Pence’s past can best be described as a mix of right-wing extremism, racism, sexism, and failure. His crowning achievement as VP is, of course, his role as head of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, which has failed spectacularly at handling the pandemic that has now killed more people in the U.S. than in any other country and is literally spreading through the White House as we speak. Nice work, Mike.
  • In other news, Trump advisor Stephen Miller tested positive for COVID-19 last night. Miller is best known for spearheading the migrant separation policies which led to a national uproar and nationwide protests in 2018. Miller is married to Mike Pence’s communications director, who herself contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. Katie Miller also happens to be the face of Pence’s anti-plexiglass pushback ahead of tonight’s debate. The intertwined web of Trump aides and associates with coronavirus is growing increasingly alarming.


  • A report from the New York Times details the depth of the Trump administration’s cruelty in enforcing their family separation policy. When Trump put the policy in place, it sparked backlash from a group of U.S. Attorneys at the border, the report says. This led then-AG Jeff Sessions — and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein — to push even further. Sessions reportedly instructed the prosecutors that “we need to take away the children.” Rosenstein cleared up any ambiguity by then telling the prosecutors it didn’t matter how young the children they prosecuted were, including in two cases involving infants.
  • More than 100 people who work in the U.S. Capitol complex have tested positive for coronavirus. These individuals, who are all classified as essential workers, include maintenance and construction workers as well as Capitol Police officers — not to be confused with the Republican lawmakers who have repeatedly chosen to walk maskless throughout the halls of the Capitol. These underappreciated workers are the people who keep Congress running. This is especially frustrating considering Mitch McConnell has refused to require or even to encourage mask wearing on the Senate side of the Capitol.


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