These 2 Quotes From the VP Debate Tell Us Everything We Need To Know About Kaine And Pence

One in five vice presidents becomes president, so we asked experts to tune in Tuesday night and tell us what they heard

America got acquainted with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and Indiana Governor Mike Pence when they took the debate stage Tuesday evening. We asked two experts on elections to pick a key quote from the evening and tell us why those statements mattered.

Justin Buchler, Case Western Reserve University

“I tried to stand for the ancient principle of the sanctity of life. I am also very pleased that Indiana became the most-adoption state. But what I can’t understand is Hillary Clinton—how she can support a process like partial-birth abortion.”
–Mike Pence, Republican candidate for vice president

Donald Trump selected Mike Pence as his running mate, in large part, because Trump needed to reassure Republicans about his willingness to hold to conservative social positions, given his past embrace of liberal positions on issues like abortion.

Pence, unlike Trump, has always been a conservative hardliner, particularly on issues like abortion. The challenge that this creates is that most voters don’t share his views. Consider the following data from the 2012 American National Election Studies survey. While 45.7 percent of respondents said that women should always be able to attain an abortion as a matter of personal choice, only 11.5 percent said that abortion should never be permitted.

Trump’s need to reassure conservatives with a selection like Pence has created a different electoral challenge by hewing his campaign to the most extreme end of the abortion spectrum.

Pence handled the issue by using a simple tool recognizable from political scientist E.E. Schattschneider’s “The Semisovereign People.”

Political conflicts can be defined by “lines of cleavage,” Schattschneider wrote. If you want to win, draw the line of cleavage in a place that is beneficial to you, by placing as many people as possible on your side. If you oppose abortion for rape victims (as Pence does), don’t talk about it. By turning the abortion question into a question of partial birth abortion or taxpayer funding of abortion, Pence moves the line of cleavage to one in which Pence (and Trump) are on the side of the majority, while simultaneously reassuring conservatives of the Trump campaign’s commitment to the antiabortion cause.

It was a deft move.

Justin Buchler is the author of Hiring and Firing Public Officials: Rethinking the Purpose of Elections.

Kyle Kopko, Elizabethtown College

“ … On the economy, there’s a fundamental choice for the American electorate. Do you want a ‘you’re hired’ president in Hillary Clinton or do you want a ‘you’re fired’ president in Donald Trump? I think that’s not such a hard choice.”
– Tim Kaine, Democratic candidate for vice president

To be sure, this was a scripted line—and even Mike Pence called him on it. Hillary Clinton and Kaine have used this talking point on the campaign trail. But, it’s likely to gain more traction in the coming weeks, especially given recent revelations regarding Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns as reported by The New York Times.

If Donald Trump did not pay federal income tax for the past 18 years, do not expect many swing voters to embrace him for “brilliantly” using the tax code to his advantage, despite what Mike Pence and other Trump campaign surrogates have argued.

During the first presidential debate, Trump stated that he was “smart” for taking advantage of the U.S. tax code. Following the debate, Hillary Clinton posed this rhetorical question to crowds of her supporters: “If not paying taxes makes him smart, what does that make the rest of us?”

Trump’s tax problems, business bankruptcies and the “you’re fired” tag-line from “The Apprentice” gives the Clinton/Kaine campaign plenty of ammunition for negative campaign ads. If Trump is such a successful businessman, how could he suffer a US$900 million loss in one year? Will he do for the United States what he did for Atlantic City? Look for more television ads along these lines in battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia in the near future.

While Tim Kaine did not have an especially strong debate performance—appearing more rigid and scripted compared to Pence—he did no harm and he reinforced several important campaign themes. Now, the rest is up to Hillary Clinton.

Kyle Kopko is the coauthor of The VP Advantage: How Running Mates Influence Home State Voting in Presidential Elections with Christopher Devine.

via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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The Planet
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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The Planet

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

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