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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.

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