Vice Presidents in the United States are more like shadows who have a fleeting presence. Most Vice Presidents fade away into obscurity after they take up office. For over decades the Vice President is just seen doing some ceremonial duties like attending funerals of world leaders. One can recollect that Dan Quayle, George Bush Sr, and Huber Humphrey flew to India to represent the USA at the funerals of Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

The debate

The importance of a Vice President cannot be underestimated as he is in the next line of succession. One remembers how Lyndon Johnson was catapulted to the US presidency after JFK was assassinated in Dallas 5 decades back.

This time, the two Vice Presidential running mates will spar it out in their only debate. There is more significance to this debate than normal as both the presidential candidates are about the oldest in US election history and may have health problems. Trump is 70 and Hillary is turning 69 and both are rumored to have some health problems. In contrast, Mike Pence at 57 and Tim Kaine at 58 are younger and thus their debate carries more significance.


Gallup polls show that Hilary is slowly regaining her lead and a New York Times poll shows that she leads by 4 points. It will now be up to Mike Pence to arrest this downslide. Many of the Republican stalwarts have an inherent dislike of Trump and for him this debate is important. It gives a chance to his campaign which is floundering to catch up.

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Pence thus has an important job to do. Similarly, Tim Kaine has his work cut out during the debate to try and make Hillary look more trustworthy. The email and other scandals, as well as her health, are negative points.

Last word

The Vice Presidential debate is thus of more than passing interest  and unlike in the past, these two may have a greater role to play than earlier. This is because of the age of the candidates two candidates which are going to increase with the passage of time. Age is nobody's friend and the voters will keep that in mind.