Why the US vice-presidential debates matter
Vice-presidential debates usually are given scant media attention compared to the presidential ones. However, we encourage you not to skip the broadcasting at 1 am GMT. The event might not match the fireworks and the entertainment value given to us by D. Trump and H. Clinton, but it does matter for both domestic and international audiences. Here comes the main question – why? Let me elaborate on that.
First, it is because of extremely high influence of the last three vice presidents – Joe Biden, Dick Cheney and Al Gore. The first one was vigorously advocating the last year’s nuclear deal with Iran and it was propelling the congressional ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Gore’s influence can be traced in the many international agreements he managed to negotiate working in the Bill Clinton’s administration (think for instance of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol). Cheney should be blamed for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The new vice president nominees – Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine – will certainly inherit their powers. Both candidates have a vast experience as governors; both may affect the foreign policy of the country.
Second, let’s be honest, H. Clinton at her 68 and her counterpart D. Trump at his 70 are not young even for the presidential post that demands a good background/vast experience in running big companies or certain departments. If the elected president dies (God forbid!), the vice-president will have to take his/her place for a while. And this reveals the rationale of the Trump’s and Clinton’s decision to appoint much younger running mates (Pence is 57 and Kaine is 58).
And the last reason why these debates are so important and worth your attention is that the position of vice-president has always been perceived as a transitional office to the presidency. Maybe, these debates will be a sort of a window to the US future. Meanwhile, the running mates can support the present candidates in the upcoming presidential debates scheduled for this Sunday. Kayne will try to build off Clinton’s victory at the first presidential debate, whereas Pence will articulate its policy vision and will be pointing out at Hillary’s weaknesses and controversial episodes of her service as Senator and Secretary of State.
For these reasons we encourage you at least to skim the main takeaways after the debates and see the results. We don’t expect that vice-presidential debates will cause high volatility in markets, but the degree of pressure will certainly increase.