A Kamala Harris or Mike Pence Presidency: What Would it Mean for America?

By Pranesh Kumar, Copy Editor

During every presidential election cycle, the Vice Presidential debates are typically overhyped by the media. The back and forth bickering between both candidates is supposed to offer “valuable” insight into how they would manage policy decisions. However, by next sunrise, the VP debates are quickly forgotten as candidates deal with more pressing issues.


This year, the stakes for the Vice Presidential debate are completely different. With the growing health concerns of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, voters can easily envision Vice President Mike Pence or Senator Kamala Harris stepping into the top spot. A Kamala Harris or Mike Pence presidency is definitely not out of the question, and it is important for all of us to understand what this would mean for America.


One element of a Kamala Harris presidency that differs from Joe Biden’s presidency is her openness to more progressive ideas. Joe Biden, during his many years in government, has been praised for being a very moderate and bipartisan senator. The idea of Biden being very moderate on political issues is arguably what makes him a strong candidate. Regardless, with the presidency at her disposal, Kamala Harris would be open to getting more meaningful legislation passed. For instance, Senator Harris was one of the first Democrats in Congress to support Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2017 Medicare for All bill. Under a Harris administration and with a Democratic Senate majority, we could see more steps being taken to push for universal, single-payer healthcare. 


A Harris presidency could also mark the first time a female would be in charge of the United States, and as a result, we can expect some meaningful legislation to be passed with regards to women’s rights. While Biden’s religious background may make him more cautious about abortion rights, a Harris presidency would be more supportive of taxpayer-funded abortions (arguing that it would help empower lower-income women). We might also see more generous policies with maternity leave, where all workers would be allowed six months paid family leave for personal/medical issues. Regardless of whether you support her beliefs or not, there is no doubt that a Harris administration would be more dynamic and more left-leaning than a Biden presidency.


Although Mike Pence has very much worked “behind the scenes” in the Trump administration, the Vice Presidential debates have given us decent insight on how he would operate as president. For one, a Pence presidency would arguably be less controversial than a Trump presidency. Many people have warmed up to Pence as being a good orator, and regardless of policy differences, he is a much more composed person than Donald Trump. Aside from this, however, Pence would almost certainly carry on the same policy agenda like Donald Trump — while perhaps being more extreme on economic and cultural issues. A Mike Pence presidency could mean more restrictions on abortion rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community. It would also, almost certainly, result in more tax cuts and create an even more unstable economic position.


A Harris presidency or Pence presidency would ultimately cause massive political uncertainty in an already crazy year for politics. Both candidates have vastly different visions for the future of the country, and this is worth considering as voters cast their ballots for the upcoming election.