style

A polite battle over substance in a campaign about style (plus a fly)

After Vice President Chester A. Arthur ascended to the presidency after the assassination of President James A. Garfield 1881, he was mockingly dubbed “your accidency” by some opponents.



Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie: Vice President Mike Pence listens to Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during the vice presidential debate.


© Patrick Semansky, AP
Vice President Mike Pence listens to Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during the vice presidential debate.

Sadly, it is this macabre specter that hangs over any vice presidential debate: If either combatant ends up as president in the next four years, something has gone terribly wrong.

This is the subtext that led into Wednesday night’s debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris, and since 2020 is the year subtlety died, flies showed up and circled the VP candidates to drive the point home.

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In historical context, the Pence-Harris debate was about as ordinary as

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