By Jenna Yingling ’21
When voting in the general election, many people focus solely on the presidential candidate, and forget about the running mate on the ballot. The Vice-Presidential position may seem meaningless, or at best, not important until the next election, but under very specific circumstances, the Vice President can acquire much power. Mainly, he or she presides in the Senate, votes in the Senate if there is a tie, and takes over the Presidential position if the President dies while in office.
For the Republican Party, Mike Pence will be running alongside President Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election. Pence is also the current Vice President of the United States. Preceding his political career, Pence worked for a private practice law firm and hosted a radio talk show in Indiana.
In 2000, Pence successfully ran on behalf of Indiana for a position in the House of Representatives, where he went on to serve six terms. During this time period, the former congressman established himself as conservative Christian, and demonstrated this ideology when voting on bills.
Pence’s most notable political stances relate to his conservative outlook on social issues. The vice president is outwardly opposed to same-sex marriage and most abortion rights. In 2017, Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate that allowed Planned Parenthood to be defunded.
On the other hand, Senator Kamala Harris is running on behalf of the Democratic Party with former vice president Joe Biden. Harris is the first woman of color to be nominated for national office by a major political party. Before she entered the Senate, Harris was the attorney general of California.
In 2016, Harris was elected to the US Senate, and represented the state of California. She served on the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee. In 2019, Harris announced that she was running for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. Harris began as a strong contender, but her campaign eventually lost momentum and she dropped out of the race in December 2019.
Currently, Harris is an advocate for race related social justice reform. Harris also supports protecting abortion rights and increasing the minimum wage to fifteen dollars and hour. She was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution tackling climate change.
While the average voter will not make a decision based on the running mate, it is wise to look into their background information in order to understand what types of people the President will include in his or her administration.