What Does A Vice President Do Anyway?

There are only three essential tasks

We have good news for you: Election season is almost over.

After enduring months and months of campaigning from dozens of candidates with heated debates, vicious attacks, and relentless fundraising, citizens will soon head to the polls to choose the next president of the United States.

Sadly, for many, our choices are pretty limited. Our two major party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both boast the lowest approval ratings of any presidential candidates in the past 10 presidential cycles. But, it’s still important to exercise your freedoms and head to the polls Tuesday, November 8 to cast your ballot. When voting, it’s also important to remember one key factor: who will be the vice president of the United States?

As many have described, the VP choice is a mere “heartbeat away” from the presidency. In the aftermath of a tragic presidential death, who would you want running the country, Tim Kaine or Mike Pence? (To get to know these guys a bit more, read up on GOOD’s story here.)

But even as VP, these men are more than just a warm body waiting in second place. Here are a few key tasks the vice president of the United States undertakes:

Presiding Officer of The Senate

In this role, the vice president acts as the tiebreaker in the United States Senate. The VP also presides over the joint session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College and announce the next presidency. Counting the votes can often lead to an awkward situation, with several candidates, including Vice President Al Gore and Vice President Richard Nixon, having to announce their opponents as the winner. Aside from a tiebreaking vote and official counter, the VP has no real power or influence over the Senate.

Advisor to the President

Though not a technical role, the VP will often act as an informal advisor to the president, depending on the relationship between the two. Trump, for example, has noted he would likely hand over all foreign policy matters to Mike Pence if elected.

Warm Body

We know we joked about a VP being more than this, but this truly is their main job and most important duty. In total, nine vice presidents in U.S. history have had to step in to become president of the United States during their term, some through the death of the president, others through impeachment. It’s imperative the person sitting next to the president be ready at a moment’s notice to take control of the free world, have a grasp on all foreign and domestic policy matters, be ready to handle nuclear codes, and probably understand our relationship with the aliens most certainly hiding out at Area 51.

It may seem like a simple job to only have three real tasks, but make sure to watch tonight’s vice-presidential debate to make sure you like your second choice before you vote on November 8.

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

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

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.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less