The Election: Second-In-Command BY SEMIRA Arora

Photo courtesy of Grit Daily

During the presidential election, Americans often focus on the presidential candidates and their views, but what about the vice presidential candidates? When Americans vote for a president, they are also voting for a vice president: it is a package deal. Therefore, it is important to understand who the vice presidential candidates are, and what they stand for.

California Senator Kamala Harris will be representing the Democratic party and Vice President Pence will be representing the Republican party as vice presidential candidates during this election.

Harris is pro-LGBTQ+ activist. In the past, she has supported the LGBTQ+ community by openly going against Proposition 8, legislation that sought to ban same-sex marriage. On this topic, she has clearly voiced her opinion, but she has had contradictory actions in the past on other political issues. For example, Harris refused to pursue the death sentence against an accused murderer. However, she defended California’s death penalty systems in court.

Unlike Harris, Pence has voiced his strong opinions clearly. For instance, he has demonstrated a lack of tolerance for the LGBTQ+ community. He voted against a law that would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the workspace, according to Time magazine.

Pence and Harris have differing opinions on how to handle multiple contemporary issues.

Regarding the coronavirus, Harris believes it is important to protect the elderly, disabled, and those vulnerable first. She also has spoken about protecting the health care workers and frontline responders by giving them the best quality equipment and making a future vaccine accessible to everyone.

Pence’s plan on the coronavirus is to give tax relief to first-line responders and workers who are facing unemployment due to the pandemic. He also prioritizes the creation of a vaccine, as well as safely and slowly reopening the economy. Harris tends to focus on the humanitarian side of this pandemic issue, while Pence is eager to keep the economy going.

Harris wants to advance the economic mobility of African Americans and close the racial wealth and income gaps that people of color face. Pence wants to “restore law and order” and make America safer, by increasing sensitivity training in the police force. Specifically, Pence wants to address the systemic racial bias that exists in the current police force through the sensitivity training.

On the topic of climate change, Harris hopes to switch to solar energy and implement the Clean Air Act, a plan which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically those from airplanes. Harris hopes for America to have a 100 percent clean energy economy no later than 2050. The cost is estimated to be about two trillion dollars.

The Trump administration has supported legislation that removes garbage from oceans, and they support clean water infrastructure. Pence wants to put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and vehicles. He has approved of oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the last term, but it is unclear whether he wants to continue to do this in other national parks.

The 2020 Election will be a very important one, and it is crucial to understand the perspectives of not only the presidential candidates, but also the vice presidential candidates. America faces the choice between Harris, who is humanitarian, liberal, and pro-environment, or Pence, who is conservative, religiously dogmatic, and pro-economy. It is up to America to decide.